Chapter

Chapter 19: Macroeconomic Statistics for Policymaking

Author(s):
Alfred Schipke, Aliona Cebotari, and Nita Thacker
Published Date:
April 2013
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Author(s)
Seana Benjamin, Alain Brousseau, Hazel Corbin, Mico Mrkaic, Leah Sahely, C. Térèsa Smith and Kim Zieschang 

The design, monitoring, and evaluation of sound macroeconomic policies require timely and accurate macroeconomic statistical information. Establishment of the Economic Union and the signing of the revised Economic Union Treaty by the members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have thrown into sharp relief the need for an integrated economic framework spanning the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).1,2 Deepening economic integration calls for cross-country comparison and analysis within the union to support coordination of economic policies by member governments and informed economic decision making by market participants. Effective comparison and analysis require harmonized macroeconomic statistics. In addition, the transparency enabled by public dissemination of these data fosters investor confidence and improves access to global capital markets. Research has shown that improving the transparency and quality of macroeconomic data reduces borrowing costs in international capital markets (see Cady, 2004; Cady and Pellechio, 2006; and Cady and Gonzalez-Garcia, 2006).3

The members of the OECS/ECCU are islands with small, open economies. Their size raises challenges for producing macroeconomic statistics not encountered by larger national economies. Thus, harmonization fosters the efficient use of scarce resources in the region by allowing compilation of union-wide economic statistics that are direct and coherent aggregates of member-country statistics. Harmonization also promotes efficiency through the use of standard statistical procedures and software tools, and minimizes the need for special collections and compilations of data to support regional statistics. Harmonization is a key prerequisite for the efficient production of coherent statistics fit for public policy and private sector decision making.

The European Union, its statistical agency Eurostat, and the European Central Bank (ECB) offer examples of harmonization in the compilation and dissemination of statistical data resulting in greater data transparency and compatibility and better allocation of scarce human resources. These examples could be useful for other currency unions. Box 19.1 describes the modus operandi of Eurostat and the ECB.

This chapter provides an overview of the key statistical issues in the OECS/ECCU. The next section reviews the current state of macroeconomic statistics in the OECS/ECCU, outlines the progress that has been made, and identifies outstanding challenges. It is followed by a section briefly describing technical assistance (TA) to the region. The penultimate section presents the challenges for the production of macroeconomic statistics in small island states, and the last section concludes. Appendix 19A presents issues in macroeconomic statistics in the OECS/ECCU member countries in detail.

Box 19.1Harmonization of Macroeconomic Statistics in the EU

The institutions responsible for harmonizing macroeconomic statistics for the EU are Eurostat and, for the EU countries comprising the euro area, the European Central Bank (ECB). These organizations process and publish comparable statistical information at the European or the euro-area level by harmonizing the concepts, methods, structures, and technical standards used in the EU member states. Eurostat and the ECB work in their respective topical and geographical domains with member states to define common methodologies and to assist member states with the harmonization of their data-compilation practices.

Neither Eurostat nor the ECB collects data from individual reporters; data collection is performed by member states’ statistical authorities and national central banks, which verify and analyze national data and send them to Eurostat and the ECB. Eurostat and the ECB consolidate the data and ensure they are comparable by using harmonized methodology, the objective of which is to have comparable data between countries within their respective jurisdictions and between Eurostat and the ECB. Eurostat and the ECB are the designated providers of official economic statistics at the European and euro-area levels, respectively.

Source: Adapted in part from the Eurostat website http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home.

The Current State of Macroeconomic Statistics in the OECS/ECCU

OECS/ECCU countries have made significant progress in upgrading and harmonizing their statistical systems. This section reviews the achievements as well as the challenges still faced by the OECS/ECCU countries in upgrading and harmonizing their statistical systems. It covers the real sector, external statistics, government finance, and monetary and financial statistics. It also reviews data dissemination practices. In addition, the section compares the OECS/ECCU’s statistical practices with best international practices.

Real Sector Statistics

The OECS/ECCU’s System of National Accounts is based on the System of National Accounts 1993 (1993 SNA), which was mandated by the United Nations Statistical Commission.4 The 1993 SNA comprises internationally accepted concepts, definitions, classifications, and accounting rules for compiling the macroeconomic accounts of an economic territory, whether it is a state, province, country, or region. The SNA’s goods and services accounts include a set of production accounts deriving GDP by economic activity. These production accounts are fully harmonized among the OECS/ECCU countries. A widely used presentation of GDP based on the goods and services components of the SNA’s standard sequence of accounts also shows the proportion of GDP attributable to final expenditure on household, nonprofit, and government consumption, as well as to capital formation (investment) and net exports of all institutional sectors. The OECS/ECCU member countries are progressing in revising their estimates of GDP-by-expenditure statistics.5 So far, OECS/ECCU countries have not yet established a timetable for the adoption of the 2008 SNA, which provides for improved treatment of nonfinancial assets, the public sector, financial sector accounts, and balance of payments. (Improved treatment of the balance of payments occurs via implementation of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, sixth edition [BPM6; IMF, 2009], which is fully compatible with the 2008 SNA.)

Since 2004 member countries have undertaken several projects to improve data quality and harmonize the compilation of real sector statistics. All member countries have rebased their national accounts to base year 2006 for the period 2000 to 2010. Box 19.2 describes the features of the OECS/ECCU rebased national accounts series. As part of the rebasing exercise, countries have improved the coverage, data sources, concepts, methodology, and the classification of GDP by economic activity. The previous base year used for compiling the estimates was 1990. Member countries have undergone significant structural changes since 1990, and international good practice is to rebase the national accounts every five years, so the rebasing exercise is welcome. The share of agriculture in GDP has declined and the share of services in GDP has increased. Rebasing revealed that GDP had been underestimated by 4 to 47 percent, depending on the country and period of comparison.

Box 19.2Features of the OECS/ECCU Rebased National Accounts Series

With the support of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Center (CARTAC), GDP by economic activity of the OECS/ECCU member states has been rebased from base year 1990 to base year 2006. The rebasing exercise calculated value added using prices of a more recent period, and provided an opportunity for benchmarking the GDP estimates to facilitate wider coverage and greater accuracy through updated intermediate consumption-to-gross-output ratios.

The GDP current and constant price series have been significantly improved as a result of

  • broader data coverage through the use of a wider range of data sources, including economic surveys and administrative data;

  • conceptual changes, notably for financial services,a and measurement of the output of owner-occupied dwellings;

  • methodological changes, which have integrated output, intermediate consumption, and value added for all industries; and

  • improved estimation procedures, including the use of better extrapolation and deflation techniques for the GDP constant price series.

The calculation of value added in an integrated framework—gross output, intermediate consumption, and value added for all industries—is a marked improvement over the earlier estimates, which in some cases were derived as the movement in historical value added by price and volume measures. The improvement was enabled by the availability, in some countries, of comprehensive national accounts surveys, supply and use tables, and household expenditure surveys. The supply and use tables directly facilitate the compilation of integrated production accounts. The household budget survey results were used in measuring the output of nontradable services (in the absence of enterprise-based data) and in validating supply-based estimates of production.

In most countries, compilers undertook statistical enquiries to improve the scope of these industry-based estimates of GDP (e.g., for fishing, land and sea transportation, other crops). Administrative data from revenue agencies were also used, mainly to supplement the coverage of survey-based results for industries such as hotels and restaurants, manufacturing, and wholesale and retail trade. Although the underlying estimation technique was retained for construction, intermediate consumption was recalculated to take account of more types of building materials and of services used in construction.

Regarding industrial classifications, the International Standard Industrial Classification Revision 3.1 was implemented as recommended by the ECCB. Education and health and social work are now identified as separate industries, and the public components of these services, formerly included under government, have now been reclassified. In a number of OECS/ECCU member states, offshore university activities were previously not captured; these activities are now reflected in the new series.

Rebasing revealed that GDP had been underestimated by 4 to 47 percent, depending on the country and period of comparison. The revised GDP for 2009 was 23.7 percent higher than the previous estimate.

a Specifically that part of financial services covered by “financial intermediation services indirectly measured” (FISIM). FISIM estimates the proportion of the spread between loan interest received and deposit interest paid arising from, respectively, loan (credit) and deposit services.

OECS/ECCU countries do not compile quarterly GDP data. CARTAC has started a pilot project in Saint Lucia with the goal of compiling and disseminating quarterly GDP statistics. Other OECS/ECCU countries also plan to develop quarterly GDP statistics over the next several years with technical assistance from CARTAC. In the meantime, a quarterly index based on volume indicators is compiled by the ECCB in collaboration with OECS/ECCU member countries.

The consumer price index (CPI) in member countries had been based on outdated baskets of goods and services that no longer accurately represented consumption patterns. To improve the quality of CPI data, all member countries, with the exception of Montserrat, rebased their national CPIs. Box 19.3 describes the improvements to the CPI in the OECS/ECCU. The new baskets of goods and services better reflect the importance of rents, imputed rents, services, and health insurance. Additional retail outlets have also been added to the surveys to provide better coverage. So far, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have officially released their new CPIs.

Box 19.3Improvements to the Consumer Price Index in the OECS/ECCU

OECS/ECCU member states have developed new market baskets for the consumer price index (CPI), using results from Household Income and Expenditure Surveys. They have also improved the classification structures, methods, and procedures used to compile the CPI in line with those discussed in the Consumer Price Index Manual (ILO and others, 2004). The revised CPIs, which became available in September 2010, have enabled both more accurate measurements of inflation and greater comparability across the region.

The revised CPIs have been enhanced by

  • expanding the geographic coverage and adding newer outlets—the CPI is now more representative of entire countries, not just capital city areas;

  • including new item structures in the CPI basket that reflect both updated spending patterns and new products (e.g., college tuition, cell phones, MP3 players, computers, and health and auto insurance);

  • using the Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP), the international standard recommended in the CPI Manual, replacing regional classification structures that were somewhat different from those provided in COICOP;

  • covering owner occupied dwellings using owner’s equivalent rent, making the CPI conceptually consistent with the 1993 SNA;

  • using the Price Index Processor Software (http://www.unece.org/hk/stats/downloads/sw_cpi_ppi/pips.html), which improves upon the methods and procedures previously used by

    • compiling indexes that use geometric averaging rather than arithmetic averaging, thus reducing the biases documented in the CPI Manual that result from using arithmetic averages of prices and arithmetic averages of price relatives;

    • imputing missing prices using the price change of related products rather than carrying forward the last reported price, which has an inherent short-term bias and can result in long-term bias unless imputations are carefully applied;

    • dealing with product quality change using techniques documented in the CPI Manual; and

    • enhancing comparability across the region for classifications, structure, methods, and procedures used in the CPIs.

OECS/ECCU members have received substantial technical assistance from CARTAC in the revision process. CARTAC helped each country to develop market baskets and introduce the Price Index Processor Software to enable the statistical offices to implement the improved methods described in the CPI Manual.

One of the most important data shortcomings for macroeconomic policymaking is the lack of appropriate labor market statistics. A project to improve them commenced in 2011 under the auspices of the OECS Secretariat, with technical assistance from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and financial support from the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration. The goal of the project is to establish an OECS-wide labor market information system, which will collect data on wages and labor costs, employment, and unemployment. The labor market information system will also standardize computer-aided record keeping. The project was launched as a pilot in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in April 2011 and is expected to be expanded to the other OECS countries in 2012 pending the completion of funding arrangements.

Although the Caribbean Tourism Organization publishes monthly data on stay-over arrivals, it does not publish data on tourists’ expenditures. Given the importance of tourism for these countries, the OECS/ECCU is planning to develop tourism satellite accounts (TSA) in collaboration with the Caribbean Tourism Organization.6 Current statistics, based on arrivals, overnight stays, and balance of payments information, inadequately reflect the economic importance of tourism. In addition, the timeliness of tourism statistics should be improved.

External Sector Statistics

Pursuant to mandates of OECS member governments, the ECCB monitors the external sector. In collaboration with member countries’ statistical offices, the ECCB compiles all members’ balances of payments and publishes them annually. The estimates are based on both survey and nonsurvey data and are presented in a format consistent with the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, fifth edition (BPM5; IMF, 1993).7 Member countries are working to be compliant with BPM6 (IMF, 2009) by 2013.

Improved balance of payments survey forms have been produced and tested, but their launch is being delayed until the statistics software is updated to reflect changes in the forms. The improved forms will allow the balance of payments to be presented in the Extended Balance of Payments Services format and, over the next several years, will allow the international investment position (IIP) to be prepared.8 Dominica has been selected as the pilot country for production of IIP statistics, with the assistance of the IMF Statistics Department.

An important improvement to external sector statistics would be the production of quarterly balances of payments, which would help anticipate potential drains on international reserves. In addition, quarterly data on foreign investment would improve economic growth forecasts. Given the high debt levels of most OECS/ECCU countries, statistics on government-guaranteed debt, external debt, and debt-service schedules for domestic and external debt would be useful for policymakers and financial market participants.9

Institutional arrangements to monitor foreign direct investment projects are in place only in Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda. In other member countries, data on foreign direct investment are compiled using information from the media and through interviews with various stakeholders in the industries. The capital flows reported in the balance of payments are dominated by transactions of member governments. Information on nongovernment flows is obtained by surveying establishments engaged in external transactions.

The timeliness and quality of trade data vary among member countries, and in most countries, timely dissemination is hampered by issues with administration, data entry processes, and information technology.

Remittances inflows, especially remittances in-kind, have always been sizeable in the OECS/ECCU. Current data on remittances are estimates and are compiled using available qualitative and quantitative information, such as economic developments in the remittances source countries as well as the domestic economies. With the revision of the balance of payments survey forms, a questionnaire was developed to capture information on transfers that go through remittances service providers and money transfer companies. The 2011 census in the OECS/ECCU also included questions about the source of transfers from overseas.

Government Finance Statistics

The annual and quarterly data on central government finances published by the ECCB are broadly in line with the methodology set forth in the IMF’s 1986 A Manual on Government Finance Statistics.

No detailed data are published on the public sector. The authorities plan to broaden the coverage of statutory bodies and public enterprises, which would help track the evolution of the public sector’s fiscal accounts and assess the contingent liability of the central government. Countries will need to migrate toward presenting this data in a GFSM 2001 format as mandated in IMF Board Decision No. 14565-(10/20) and outlined in “Government Finance Statistics to Strengthen Fiscal Analysis” (IMF, 2010).10

High fiscal deficits and public debt in several OECS/ECCU countries highlight the importance of reliable and timely fiscal data that policymakers use in making fiscal policy decisions. Each OECS/ECCU country would benefit from the compilation of fiscal balance sheets, disaggregated by instrument and by residency of creditors. Such balance sheets would complement the existing cash flow statements.

Monetary and Financial Statistics

The ECCB produces and disseminates the Monetary and Financial Statistics (MFS) for the union and its members. The MFS are of sufficient quality for surveillance purposes and are fully harmonized across the members. Currently, the MFS covers commercial banks. The ECCB continues to make progress in expanding institutional coverage to include “other depository corporations” so as to be consistent with the IMF’s Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual (IMF, 2000).

The ECCB has undertaken a number of projects to improve the quality, coverage, and timeliness of the MFS. The ECCB has collaborated with CARTAC to finalize reporting forms for financial institutions overseen by the single regulatory units (SRUs). These include other depository corporations, credit unions, insurance companies, trust companies, mutual funds, money services, and offshore banks. The SRUs received the final set of reporting forms in May 2010 and the ECCB requested that the SRUs provide quarterly consolidated data for each type of institution. The licensed nonbank institutions were required to use the new Other Depository Corporations reporting forms beginning in April 2011. Once the ECCB receives these forms, it should be able to expand the institutional coverage of the monetary survey. In addition, the first draft of the revised prudential returns for commercial banks, based on international standards, were completed in February 2011. The revised prudential returns are expected to be implemented in January 2013.

The ECCB also reviewed the existing list of statutory bodies to ensure proper classification of institutional units to further improve the quality of its monetary statistics. The ministries of finance in each of the eight territories classified their statutory bodies into central government agencies or public nonfinancial corporations. This comprehensive list of state-owned institutions will be distributed to all financial institutions that report data for monetary statistics purposes. The ECCB will then be able to classify deposits of public nonfinancial corporations held by commercial banks as part of broad money (as recommended in the IMF Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual). The ECCB currently prepares Financial Soundness Indicators and provides them to the IMF for internal purposes only.

Data Dissemination Practices

The ECCB publishes a release calendar for the GDP, the CPI, the balance of payments, and the MFS. It also disseminates a revision schedule for monetary statistics. Its website displays a wide range of data, including annual GDP estimates, results of the Business Outlook Survey, fiscal targets for OECS/ECCU member countries, the revision cycle for monetary data, monetary statistics, tourism data, and consumer price indices. Links to the IMF General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) are also provided on the ECCB website. An interactive database to facilitate access to a downloadable time series that could be readily used for econometric studies is still under development. The Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange provides a graph of its share price index on its website dating back to its inception in December 2004, but no time series.

Technical Assistance to the Region

The OECS/ECCU has received substantial TA from CARTAC, the Statistics Department of the IMF (STA), the ILO, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, and other organizations. Since September 2007, STA and CARTAC have fielded 70 technical assistance missions to the OECS/ECCU to help support implementation of its current statistical plan. Most missions focused on the rebasing of the national accounts and the CPI, and one mission dealt with government finance statistics. In addition, 72 participants from the OECS/ECCU have attended statistical courses given by the IMF Institute and CARTAC.

In 2011, CARTAC started two major projects in macroeconomic statistics: assistance to OECS/ECCU countries in revising the compilation of GDP by expenditure and the construction of quarterly GDP time series in Saint Lucia.

Challenges for the Production of Statistics in Small Island States

OECS/ECCU countries are middle-income, very small island economies, and their resources for producing macroeconomic statistics are not on par with the resources available to larger countries. Thus, the OECS/ECCU countries must economize in at least two ways: First, they must pool scarce resources and produce a significant portion of their macroeconomic statistics on a regional level. Second, they must conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine what macroeconomic statistics they should produce at all.

A key reason for the OECS/ECCU weak economic data is the low level of resources devoted to statistics. The Caribbean countries spend on average about 0.2 percent of their budgets on statistics. STA estimates that this expenditure would need to rise to about 0.5 percent for the region to realize a substantial increase in the quality of its statistics.

Institutional Organization for the Production of Statistical Information

The achievement of any economies of scale for the production of statistical information requires a regional approach. Issues regarding the regional organization are described below.

  • Convert central statistical offices (CSOs) into autonomous national statistical bureaus (NSBs). Although CSOs appear to be reasonably staffed, in practice, they employ mostly data compilers and only a handful of trained statisticians. This shortage of qualified statisticians hampers statistical development. Amending legislative acts to make statistical offices independent of political influence, with their own pay scales, would help them to recruit and retain trained statisticians.

  • Establish a regional statistical bureau (RSB) and NSBs. An RSB would provide survey design, database expertise, information technology, and data dissemination support for all OECS/ECCU countries, while NSBs would continue to compile most of the data. The RSB would be the statistical supporting arm of the OECS/ECCU. The RSB would allow capacity to be pooled for those functions for which it is not cost-effective for each small NSB to host its own skills and knowledge (such as in demographic analysis). The creation of an RSB would provide a career path for the best NSB statisticians to become regional experts.

  • A center of excellence could be established at the RSB, where the staff would specialize in the production of key indicators and serve as a resource center for the whole union. A center of excellence would also be helpful so that regional expertise could be developed in all statistical areas (not only macroeconomic, but also social, demographic, education, and so on).

Plans for Improvement

The OECS/ECCU member countries, with support from the ECCB and the OECS Secretariat, continue to work toward the development of an integrated statistical system, which is critical to ensuring the provision of timely and reliable data for evidence-based policymaking. This integrated system will generate national statistics on a harmonized basis, will facilitate cross-country comparison and analysis, and will create economies of scale for data generation and dissemination within the OECS/ECCU.

In September 2007, the ECCB collaborated with the IMF to host an International Conference on Statistics. Participants from the public and private sectors, as well as producers and users of statistics, attended. That meeting resulted in various commitments to enhance statistical systems, promote centralized coordination and management of the national and regional statistical systems, and enhance the institutional framework and manpower requirements. In addition, coming out of the sixth special meeting of the Monetary Council on September 18, 2009, the Council agreed to increase the focus on statistical development by recommending the following measures to member states:

  • a concrete plan to be developed by member states for the removal of the statistical gaps that exist in the OECS/ECCU statistical system in the provision of timely, relevant, and accurate data;

  • the adoption of technologies that would facilitate improved data collection and analysis; and

  • focused attention on equipping the relevant statistical offices across the region with professional staff and instituting continued training and development.

Since then considerable work has been undertaken within the OECS/ECCU, under the OECS Statistical Programme, to enhance the delivery of statistical services in the region.

Conclusion

The OECS/ECCU has made significant progress in improving the quality and quantity of the macroeconomic statistics it produces and disseminates to the public. There are, however, areas for improvement. One such area is the production of high-frequency indicators to monitor development in the real sector. Data on the tourism industry, labor markets, foreign direct investment, and private capital flows must also be enhanced to support effective policymaking in the OECS/ECCU. Moreover, the dissemination of timely statistics to the public is critical because all interested parties must be informed at the same time and no advantage in the provision of information should be given to the public sector. In addition, the production of quarterly balance of payments statistics would provide useful insights into the external sector of the OECS/ECCU members. Finally, compiling timely and accurate position data—IIP, foreign direct investment, and external debt statistics—would facilitate balance sheet analysis of the OECS/ECCU economies.

A successful economic union and stable currency union will require reorganizing and strengthening the structure supporting statistical production. The OECS/ECCU has a good record of accomplishment in providing data to the IMF and is working on several key projects to improve its statistical framework.

Appendix 19A. Comparator Matrix of Progress on Addressing Statistical Issues in the OECS/ECCU
EntityGeneral Data

Dissemination

System (GDDS)
Real sectorFiscal sectorFinancial sectorExternal sector
Eastern Caribbean Central BankParticipation in the GDDS is on a country-by-country basis.All member countries except Montserrat have completed the rebasing of their national CPIs. These harmonized CPIs are based on an updated basket of goods and services. The new basket of goods and services will better reflect the importance of rent and owner’s imputed rents, and additional outlets will be added to better cover services such as mobile phones, computers, and health insurance. The revised CPI has been released in Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A regional CPI for the OECS/ECCU is compiled using the GDP of member countries as the weighting factor.

The national accounts have been rebased to 2006 in accordance with the 1993 SNA, incorporating improvements in coverage, data sources, and methodology. The population censuses for Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines was conducted in 2011 and the results are being collated. The census for Saint Lucia was conducted in 2010 and the draft report has been circulated by the authorities.
Annual and quarterly data on central government finances published by the ECCB are broadly in line with the methodology set up in the 1986 Government Finance Statistics Manual (GFSM).

The ECCB has agreed that the OECS/ECCU will implement the methodology of the GFSM 2001. This should improve understanding of the underlying fiscal situation of member countries. A workshop on the GFSM 2001 is pending.
Monetary statistics are compiled by the ECCB on a monthly basis with a lag of six weeks. The statistics have been reported to the IMF through a standardized form since July 2006.

Accrued interest is not included in the value of interest-bearing assets and liabilities, and valuation adjustments are included in other liabilities. The accrued interest is also included in other liabilities (but not part of the interest-bearing liabilities itself).

Source data for commercial banks do not provide the disaggregation recommended in the Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual.

During November 2–9, 2009, an STA mission helped the ECCB expand the coverage of the Other Depository Corporations Survey to include mortgage companies, finance companies, building societies, and credit unions. The necessary forms were completed with assistance from CARTAC and the Antigua and Barbuda Financial Services Regulatory Services Commission. The OECS/ECCU countries are currently collecting information from these institutions.
The ECCB assists member countries in the compilation of balance of payments statistics on an annual basis, using information collected by the national statistical offices. The data are reported to the IMF for publication in the International Financial Statistics (IFS) database and Balance of Payments Statistical Yearbook (BOPSY). The statistics are based primarily on information collected from surveys of establishments.

Although recent data provide a more detailed breakdown of goods than in the past, in other areas they do not provide sufficient detail to enable publication of the full classification used in the Balance of Payments Manual, fifth edition (BPM5).

The statistics are based on information collected from surveys of establishments. Other data include official statistics on trade and tourism from central statistics offices and statistics on commercial banking, external debt, and official reserves from the ECCB. In addition, some ad hoc surveys are conducted to collect data on direct investment financial flows. The ECCB compiles balance of payments estimates on an annual basis and publishes them in the Balance of Payments Report, which contains statistics for each individual member country as well as for the ECCB region as a whole.

The ECCB has prepared new survey forms to improve the coverage and quality of data. The improved forms will allow for the presentation of the balance of payments in the Extended Balance of Payments Services (EBOPS) and for the preparation of the international investment position.

Member countries are expected to be compliant with Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, sixth edition (BPM6) by 2013.

Compilations of quarterly balance of payments statistics and an annual international investment position statement are needed.
AnguillaAnguilla does not participate in the GDDS.The national accounts have been rebased to 2006 in accordance with the 1993 SNA, incorporating improvements in coverage, data sources, and methodology.Annual data on central government finances published by the ECCB are compiled broadly in line with the 1986 GFSM.See ECCB above.See ECCB above.
Antigua and BarbudaHas participated since October 31, 2000.

Metadata for central government debt were updated in December 2010. Monetary metadata updated in September 2007; other sectors, in October 2002.
The national accounts have been rebased to 2006 in accordance with the 1993 SNA, incorporating improvements in coverage, data sources, and methodology. Annual national account statistics are provided to the IMF for publication in the IFS.

The publication of the new CPI index for Antigua and Barbuda is pending.

There is no comprehensive labor force survey and thus little coverage of labor market developments. An Annual Wages and Hours Worked Survey for the private sector was conducted in 2003, though coverage of Barbuda was limited.
Annual and quarterly data on central government finances published by the ECCB are compiled broadly in line with the 1986 GFSM. For the past several years, however, Antigua and Barbuda has not been reporting government finance statistics to the IMF for inclusion in the GovernmentFinance Statistics Yearbook and the IFS.See ECCB above.The ECCB reports annual balance of payments statistics for dissemination in the IMF’s BOPSY. Antigua and Barbuda, however, does not report trade data for publication in the Direction of Trade Statistics Yearbook.
DominicaHas participated since September 25, 2000.

Monetary metadata updated in September 2007; real sector metadata updated in 2005–06; balance of payments and merchandise trade metadata updated in 2006; other external sector and fiscal sector metadata updated in 2002.
Annual nominal GDP data are compiled using the production and expenditure approach. Estimates by economic activity are compiled using the production approach at 2006 prices as in other OECS/ECCU countries. GDP estimates are available about four months after the end of the year. The data are revised quarterly and are usually finalized with a two-year lag following completion of the National Accounts Survey.

CPI data are compiled with a two-month lag. A program is in place to develop export and import price indices (XMPIs), but a shortage of staff working on price statistics limits development in the production of XMPIs. The IMF, through CARTAC, is currently providing technical advice on XMPI methodology to Dominica and other countries in the region.

Data on employment are limited and there are no official data on producer prices or wages in the private sector.
Statistical capacity problems affect the timely production of quality government finance statistics. The data are subject to frequent revisions stemming in part from omissions and misclassifications. Data on central government operations are incomplete and must be supplemented with additional information from external sources. For instance, some operations are undertaken outside the consolidated fund. These include certain investment expenditures, loan and grant receipts, and on-lending and transfers to public enterprises. As a result, capital expenditure data recorded by the Treasury must be supplemented with additional donor-financing information, particularly because the public sector investment program (PSIP) data are not timely. Delays in the reporting of the PSIP data reportedly stem from reporting delays from the line ministries. Several ongoing initiatives to strengthen expenditure management should help minimize the extent of this problem. An effort to automate the expenditure execution process is ongoing. A new automation technology was installed in all line ministries in 2005. With this technology, all local purchase orders (LPOs) are generated electronically and tracked. Commitments are charged against a specific budget allocation once the LPOs are generated. All ministries and suppliers of goods and services are compelled to use the new system.

Only limited financing data are available. Although measurement of the government’s debt is improving, concerns remain about potential under-recording of government commitments. The authorities do not provide consolidated nonfinancial public sector data. Data for the rest of the public sector—Dominica Social Security and public enterprises—must be obtained directly from each entity during IMF Article IV consultation missions. No government finance data are reported to STA for publication in the IFS or the Government Finance Statistics Yearbook (GFS).
See ECCB aboveThe Ministry of Finance maintains a database on public and publicly guaranteed external loans that provides detailed and reasonably current information on disbursements, debt service, and debt stocks. The Treasury maintains data on bonds placed abroad. Data from the two databases are not consolidated, requiring further adjustments to measure the total debt stock. In addition, information on payments by creditor (actual and scheduled) should be available to the compilation agencies at least on a monthly basis, to allow production of timely debt stock data.

Balance of payments data are compiled on an annual basis but are reported in a summarized format of BPM5.
GrenadaHas participated since March 29, 2001.

Monetary metadata updated in September 2007; other sectors in 2002.
The national accounts have been rebased to 2006 in accordance with the 1993 SNA, incorporating improvements in coverage, data sources, and methodology. Annual national account statistics are provided to the IMF for publication in the IFS.

Grenada has begun publishing the rebased CPI with a base year of January 2010. A labor force survey was conducted in 2010; however, the results have not yet been published. There are no regular wage and unemployment data. The Central Statistical Office (CSO) is working with the ILO to improve coverage of labor market statistics.

GDP data by type of expenditure are only available in current prices. Private final consumption expenditure is estimated as a residual. However, a CARTAC-funded project is currently ongoing to improve the estimation of private final consumption expenditure.
Reporting of central government data has improved in recent years, with quarterly data being produced with lags of about two months. However, the composition of public expenditure appears to contain inaccuracies. Moreover, capital expenditures might include current expenditure items, and the nature of expenditures in the PSIP needs to be scrutinized carefully to remove current expenditure items. In addition, spending on outsourced activities is not broken down into the appropriate categories, but rather grouped into a single category. The coverage of the rest of the public sector is very limited, and there are no consolidated public sector accounts. There is no systematic reporting of information to the Ministry of Finance.

Annual statements for some public enterprises are provided during IMF missions. It would be useful to institute a mechanism for the regular reporting of financial data pertaining to the rest of the public sector, in line with the new Public Finance Management Act of 2007, which requires public enterprises to submit audited financial statements within four months after the close of the financial year.
See ECCB above.Balance of payments statistics are compiled on an annual basis, using information collected by the CSO. The data are reported to the IMF for publication in the IFS and the BOPSY. The statistics are based primarily on information collected from surveys of establishments. The database for government external debt is comprehensive and can be used to provide detailed and reasonably up-to-date breakdowns of disbursements and debt service. However, data on domestic debt, government guaranteed debt, and debt of public enterprises is limited. No data on private external debt is available.
MontserratMontserrat does not participate in the GDDS.The national accounts have been rebased to 2006 in accordance with the 1993 SNA, incorporating improvements in coverage, data sources, and methodology.

The revised CPI process has not been completed in Montserrat.
Annual data on central government finances published by the ECCB are compiled broadly in line with the 1986 GFSM.See ECCB above.See ECCB above.
Saint LuciaHas participated since September 21, 2000.

Financial sector metadata last updated in September 2007; real sector (except labor market) and external sector metadata updated in September 2004; labor market and fiscal sector in 2000.
The national accounts have been rebased to 2006 in accordance with the 1993 SNA, incorporating improvements in coverage, data sources, and methodology.

Attempts are being made to compile quarterly GDP estimates with assistance from CARTAC.

The CPI rebasing exercise has been completed. The new CPI basket has a base period of January 2008.

Quarterly labor force surveys are conducted.
Reporting of central government data has improved substantially over the last few years, but deficiencies remain in the rest of the public sector. The authorities are reporting monthly data on the central government’s current revenue and expenditure, using an IMF-compatible economic classification, with lags of a couple of months. However, frequent and substantial revisions suggest a need for further refinement.

With regard to the rest of the public sector, the periodicity and timeliness of data reporting should be improved; annual financial statements and projections are currently obtained directly from the entities during IMF missions and partially consolidated public sector accounts are only compiled by IMF staff. Data on domestic debt of the public sector are not available on a regular basis.

No fiscal data are reported to STA for publication in the GFS Yearbook or in IFS.
See ECCB above.Balance of payments statistics are compiled on an annual basis, using information collected by the CSO. The data are reported to the IMF for publication in the IFS and the BOPSY. The statistics are based primarily on information collected from surveys of establishments.

The Ministry of Finance has a comprehensive database for public and publicly guaranteed external loans that provides detailed and reasonably up-to-date breakdowns of disbursements and debt service.

Information on bonds placed abroad is compiled annually and monthly data are provided only at the IMF staff’s request. The quality of information on these bonds needs to be restored, having weakened recently when the distinction between resident and nonresident holders was discontinued.
St. Kitts and NevisHas participated since October 31, 2000.

Financial sector metadata last updated in September 2007; metadata for the other sectors last updated in October 2000.
The national accounts have been rebased to 2006 in accordance with the 1993 SNA, incorporating improvements in coverage, data sources, and methodology.

GDP data by type of expenditure are only available in current prices. Private final consumption expenditure is estimated as a residual.

Similar to the other member countries, technical assistance was provided to the statistics office in St. Kitts and Nevis for revising its CPI basket. Data are currently disseminated with base period January 2010.

Selected tourism statistics are available.

Limited data are available on labor market developments.
Data on revenue, expenditure, and financing of the consolidated central government are made available to IMF staff on request.

Discrepancies between overall balance and available financing need to be resolved. A set of fully integrated accounts for the central government produced on a regular basis would be an important development. Also, instituting a mechanism for regular reporting of financial data on the rest of the public sector would be beneficial.

The most recent data on the central government published in the GFS Yearbook are for 2003 and 2006.
See ECCB above.Balance of payments statistics are compiled on an annual basis, using information collected by the CSO. The data are reported to the IMF for publication in the IFS and the BOPSY. The statistics are based primarily on information collected from surveys of establishments.
St. Vincent and the GrenadinesHas participated since September 21, 2000.

Metadata for the real, fiscal, and external sectors last updated in September 2011; metadata for the financial sector updated in September 2007.
The national accounts have been rebased to 2006 in accordance with the 1993 SNA, incorporating improvements in coverage, data sources, and methodology.

GDP by industry is provided with a one-year lag. In addition, data on GDP by type of expenditure is only available in current prices. Private final consumption expenditure is estimated as a residual. However, a CARTAC-funded project is currently ongoing to improve the estimation of private final consumption expenditure.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines was the first OECS/ECCU member state to complete the rebasing of the GDP series.

The revised CPI has been released with base period January 2010.
As a result of delays in reporting capital expenditures by some ministries, quarterly revenue and expenditure data for the central government are provided to the IMF with some lag. Discrepancies exist between the fiscal and monetary accounts, between above and below the line for budget data, and between financing and debt data. Although domestic debt figures became available following implementation of the Commonwealth Secretariat Debt Recording and Management System, the domestic debt amortization figures are incomplete. The financial reports of public enterprises are not timely, with about a two-year lag.See ECCB above.Balance of payments statistics are compiled on an annual basis, using information collected by the CSO. The data are reported to the IMF for publication in the IFS and the BOPSY. The statistics are based primarily on information collected from surveys of establishments.
Source: Authors’ compilation.Note: BOPSY = Balance of Payments Statistical Yearbook; CPI = consumer price index; CSO = central statistical office; ECCB = Eastern Caribbean Central Bank; IFS = International Financial Statistics; PSIIP = public sector investment program; STA = the IMF’s Statistics Department.
References

    Cady, J., 2004, “Does SDDS Subscription Reduce Borrowing Costs for Emerging Market Economies?Staff Papers,International Monetary Fund, Vol. 52, No. 3, pp. 50317.

    Cady, J., and J.Gonzalez-Garcia, 2006, The IMF’s Reserves Template and Nominal Exchange Rate Volatility, IMF Working Paper 06/274 (Washington: International Monetary Fund).

    Cady, J., and A.Pellechio, 2006, Sovereign Borrowing Cost and the IMF’s Data Standards Initiatives, IMF Working Paper 06/78 (Washington: International Monetary Fund).

    ILO, IMF, OECD, UNECE, Eurostat, and World Bank, 2004, Consumer Price Index Manual: Theory and Practice (Geneva: International Labour Organization).

    International Monetary Fund, 1986, A Manual on Government Finance Statistics (Washington: International Monetary Fund).

    International Monetary Fund, 1993, Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual,fifth edition (Washington: International Monetary Fund).

    International Monetary Fund, 2000, Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual (Washington: International Monetary Fund).

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    International Monetary Fund, 2010, “Government Finance Statistics to Strengthen Fiscal Analysis,” Fiscal Affairs Department and Statistics Department (Washington: International Monetary Fund).

This chapter covers the OECS/ECCU members, that is, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and two overseas territories of the United Kingdom—Anguilla and Montserrat.

In light of the rapidly changing global environment and the need to transform domestic economies to remain competitive, the OECS heads of government decided in 2001 to establish an economic union to improve policy coordination among member states and promote economic growth and poverty reduction. The OECS Economic Union was legally established in the Revised Treaty of Basseterre. This treaty was signed on June 18, 2010, in Saint Lucia. It came into effect on January 21, 2011, upon ratification by four independent OECS countries.

Given that most OECS/ECCU countries have large debts and regularly issue sovereign bonds to finance budgetary deficits or to roll over existing debt, their provision of adequate statistical information to financial market participants is essential.

The 1993 SNA was prepared by an Intersecretarial Working Group on National Accounts, comprising Eurostat, the IMF, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the UN, and the World Bank.

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) publishes GDP by expenditure for all its member states. Work is ongoing to improve some of these aggregates. Technical assistance is presently provided by CARTAC. A pilot project was launched in Grenada and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in June 2011 and is expected to expand to the other countries in the region by 2013.

A TSA provides macroeconomic aggregates that describe the size and the economic contribution of tourism, such as gross value added and tourism gross domestic product, consistent with similar aggregates for the whole economy. It also includes detailed data on tourism consumption, a description of how this consumption is met by domestic supply and imports, and how it is integrated with supply and use tables. A TSA also includes production accounts for the tourism industries, data on employment, links with other productive economic activities, and gross fixed capital formation. Finally, a TSA should include data on number of trips (or visits), duration of stay, purpose of trip, modes of transport, and so forth.

Compilation and dissemination of the balance of payments data have been made possible by the development and use of a customized program referred to as the Computer Enhanced Balance of Payments System. All balance of payments data are harmonized among the members in that their compilation practices largely adhere to the recommendations of the Balance of Payments Manual, fifth edition (BPM5). This presentation was introduced in 1996, and for consistency the series from 1986 to 1995 was revised to reflect the methodology of the BPM5. The data are compiled annually and published in the “ECCB Area Balance of Payments Statistics” annual report. The data are presented in two formats: (1) the detailed format showing the individual balance of payments items with the corresponding credit and debit entries as well as the balance and (2) the analytical summary format presenting the major balance of payments sections, the overall balance, and financing.

The IIP is a statistical statement that shows at a point in time the value and composition of (1) financial assets of residents of an economy that are claims on nonresidents and gold bullion held as reserve assets, and (2) liabilities of residents of an economy to nonresidents. See BPM6, Paragraph 7.1.

Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica provide data for the Quarterly External Debt Statistics database that was jointly developed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The database brings together detailed external debt data of participating countries.

However, discussions with select Accountants General suggest that all the countries have agreed to implement the IPSAS. Moreover, IPSAS would not be fully implemented because it requires consolidation of total public sector accounts and the statutory corporations do accrual accounting and would not revert to cash basis accounting. Consolidation of the accounts, unless done manually, therefore seems unlikely.

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