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Mr. Andrew Baer, Mr. Kwangwon Lee, and James Tebrake
Digitalization and the innovative use of digital technologies is changing the way we work, learn, communicate, buy and sell products. One emerging digital technology of growing importance is cloud computing. More and more businesses, governments and households are purchasing hardware and software services from a small number of large cloud computing providers. This change is having an impact on how macroeconomic data are compiled and how they are interpreted by users. Specifically, this is changing the information and communication technology (ICT) investment pattern from one where ICT investment was diversified across many industries to a more concentrated investment pattern. Additionally, this is having an impact on cross-border flows of commercial services since the cloud service provider does not need to be located in the same economic territory as the purchaser of cloud services. This paper will outline some of the methodological and compilation challenges facing statisticians and analysts, provide some tools that can be used to overcome these challenges and highlight some of the implications these changes are having on the way users of national accounts data look at investment and trade in commercial services.
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
A technical Assistance (TA) Mission was conducted by CAPTAC-DR1 from May 14 to 18, 2018 with the objective of supporting the Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador (CBR) in its efforts to strengthen its national accounts statistics for decision making. The TA mission covered the following topics: compilation of an Input-Output Table (IOT) for 2014; as well as to follow up on the recommendations made in previous TA missions to disseminate Supply and Use Tables (SUT) for 2015 and thereafter, as part of the national accounts’ series with base year 2005. In addition, the mission provided training to the Department of National Accounts (DNA) team of the CBR in the methodological and conceptual aspects necessary for the analysis and application of the IOT as a statistical and analytical tool.
Mr. Serkan Arslanalp, Mr. Marco Marini, and Ms. Patrizia Tumbarello
Vessel traffic data based on the Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a big data source for nowcasting trade activity in real time. Using Malta as a benchmark, we develop indicators of trade and maritime activity based on AIS-based port calls. We test the quality of these indicators by comparing them with official statistics on trade and maritime statistics. If the challenges associated with port call data are overcome through appropriate filtering techniques, we show that these emerging “big data” on vessel traffic could allow statistical agencies to complement existing data sources on trade and introduce new statistics that are more timely (real time), offering an innovative way to measure trade activity. That, in turn, could facilitate faster detection of turning points in economic activity. The approach could be extended to create a real-time worldwide indicator of global trade activity.
Mr. Balazs Csonto, Yuxuan Huang, and Mr. Camilo E Tovar Mora
This paper examines the extent to which digitalization—measured by a new proxy based on IP addresses allocations per country—has influenced inflation dynamics in a sample of 36 advanced and emerging economies over 2000-2017. Phillips curve estimates show that digitalization has a statistically significant negative effect on inflation in the short run. Its economic impact is not large but has increased since 2012 and mainly operates through a cost/competition channel. Principal components and cointegration analysis further suggest digitalization is a key driver of lower trend inflation.
Benjamin Carton, Mr. Joannes Mongardini, and Yiqun Li
The enormous global demand for smartphones in recent years has created a new global tech cycle. In 2016 alone, global smartphone sales reached close to 1.5 billion, one for every fifth person on earth. In turn, this has engendered complex and evolving supply chains across Asia. We show that the new tech cycle cannot be captured by standard seasonality, but depends on smartphone product release dates. Decomposing cycle from trend, we also show that the sale of smartphones may have peaked in late 2015. Asia, however, continues to gain in importance as the global tech manufacturer.
Reda Cherif, Fuad Hasanov, and Min Zhu

Abstract

The “Gulf Falcons”—the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council—have high living standards as a result of large income flows from oil. The decline of oil prices between summer 2014 and fall 2015 underscores the urgency for the Gulf Falcons to diversify away from their current heavy reliance on oil exports. This book discusses attempts at diversification in the Middle East and North Africa and the complex choices policymakers face. It brings together the views of academics and policymakers to offer practical advice for future efforts to increase productivity growth.