The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Marco Marini, Robert Dippelsman, and Michael Stanger
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
In March 2017, the IMF published an upgrade of its Direction of Trade Statistics (DOTS) dataset. This paper documents the new methodology that has been developed to estimate missing observations of bilateral trade statistics on a monthly basis. The new estimation procedure is founded on a benchmarking method that produces monthly estimates based on official trade statistics by partner country reported at different times and frequencies. In this paper we describe the new estimation methodology. Additional data sources have also been incorporated. We also assess the impact of the new estimates on trade measurement in DOTS at global, regional, and country-specific levels. Finally, we suggest some developments of DOTS to strenghten its relevance for IMF bilateral and multilateral surveillance.