5. Fund Internal Access to the Data Base for Direction of Trade Statistics

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
March 1993
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The direction of trade statistics data base is a subsystem of the Economic Information System (EIS) of the Fund’s Statistics Department. This section provides information for internal access to the data base.

5.1 Structure Of The Time Series Key

The EIS name of the direction of trade statistics master file is DTTS. Data are stored in the DTTS master file in time series format. Each trade flow between countries or areas forms a separate time series with a unique identifier.

A time series key is used to access the data. This key is a 13-character alphanumeric code that uniquely identifies each time series. The components of this key include reporting country or area, type of trade flow (exports or imports), and partner country or area. For example, the time series key for France’s exports to Argentina is 13270..DZD213, and the key for the United States’ imports from Italy is 11171..DZD136. The components of the time series key may be described as follows:

1. The first component is the reporting country (or area) code—a three-position code referring to the IMF country (or area) code (see code lists in Appendix I).

2. The second component is a two-position code identifying exports (70) and imports (71).

3. The third component (..DZD) is a standard five-position code for all DOTS time series.

4. The fourth component is the partner country (or area) code (see Appendix I).

For the few countries reporting imports on an f.o.b. basis (see section 3.1.2), three types of import series are stored, identified with the second and first two positions of the third components of the time series key as follows:

(1) 71.V. Imports f.o.b.;

(2) 71.. Imports c.i.f. adjusted on the basis of a 10 percent factor for the costs of freight and insurance;

(3) 71B. Imports c.i.f. adjusted on the basis of the factor used for the world imports table in IFS (see section 3.1.2).

5.2 Retrieving the Data from EIS Terminals

DOTS data can be displayed on screens and printed using EIS facilities.1 The EIS menu can be accessed through terminals and microcomputers connected or networked to the IBM mainframe. After accessing the EIS menu, the user must change the active time series file to DTTS through option 81.3 (“Change Active Select Files”).

5.2.1 Displaying the data on screen

DOTS data can be displayed on screen in the form of individual time series with EIS option 11 (“View Single Time Series”). Data can also be displayed in the form of linelists with option 13 (“View Linelist”), showing trade flows of a country/area with all its partners or showing partner country trade flows with a country/area, by using * * * in the reporting country or partner country position of the time series key. The following time series keys specified through option 13 provide examples of linelists:

132 70..DZD *** Display France’s exports with all its partners.

*** 71 ..DZD 132 Display imports from France by all its partners.

5.2.2 Printouts of DOTS data

EIS option 14 (“Time Series Print Menu”) provides the facility for printing DOTS data from the master file:

Option 14.4 (DFLIST PRINT) prints single time series.

Option 14.1 (SET PRINT) prints country tables on reported data supplemented with estimates on exports and imports with all the partner countries. The following parameters must be used:

Set file: DTSEWRK

Set text: DTSTWRK

Set ID: ccc70.

(and/or) ccc71.

with ccc = country code

• Option 14.2 (TOPIC PRINT) prints country tables of trade data on the basis of partner country data. The following TOPICID parameter must be used:

70..DZD ccc

(and/or) 71..DZD ccc

with ccc = country code

This print shows the exports f.o.b. (or the imports c.i.f.) of all the countries of the world to (from) country ccc. However, users should be aware that the area totals of this print may not add up with the time series for individual countries.2 Although the bias may be minor, users may want to use the “c-list” procedure (see Appendix IV) which recalculates area totals for partner country tables.

5.3 Downloading Dots Data to Aremos And Lotus on Microcomputers

AREMOS (Advanced Retrieval and Econometric Modeling System) is the Fund standard data management and econometric software product for microcomputers. Interfaces, through a communication link between the DOTS data base and AREMOS, allow users to download DOTS data to AREMOS and Lotus.

The communication link establishes an interface between AREMOS and the direction of trade statistics data base through the UNISYS mainframe. The DOTS file name is DFDOT. Upon successful execution of the LINK command, the RECEIVE command stores the data in an AREMOS bank. More information on retrieving DOTS data in AREMOS can be found in the Bureau of Computing Services’ Guide to the Economist’s Workstation (EWS), Chapter III: “EWS Linkages.”

Once the data have been downloaded to AREMOS, they can be transferred directly to and from a Lotus 1-2-3 worksheet. More information on transferring data between AREMOS and Lotus can be found in the Bureau of Computing Services’ Basic AREMOS Capabilities, Chapter VI: “Interface between AREMOS and Lotus.”

The Information Center for Computer Systems of the Bureau of Computing Services provides technical support for the AREMOS and Lotus softwares.


In principle, all time series for individual countries (reported data and estimates) and area tables maintained in the direction of trade statistics data base are accessible.

The Real Sector Division of the Statistics Department and the Systems Production Division of the Bureau of Computing Services provide assistance in accessing and using DOTS data.

For more detail on EIS online facilities, see the Bureau of Computing Services’ User Guide for the Online Subsystem of the Economic Information System.

Discrepancies may arise, because the area total series for these tables are drawn from the DTTS master file world and area tables, which are updated and revised once a month (see section 3.3), while time series for country’s reported data and estimates are updated and revised once a week.

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