This report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) Data Module provides a review of Latvia’s data dissemination practices against the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), complemented by the in-depth assessment of the quality of the national accounts, consumer price index, producer price index, government finance, monetary, and balance-of-payments statistics. The assessment reveals that the quality of Latvia’s data is generally good. The authorities follow an open dissemination policy, and make freely available a wide variety of data and metadata through official publications, press releases, and on the Internet.


This report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) Data Module provides a review of Latvia’s data dissemination practices against the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), complemented by the in-depth assessment of the quality of the national accounts, consumer price index, producer price index, government finance, monetary, and balance-of-payments statistics. The assessment reveals that the quality of Latvia’s data is generally good. The authorities follow an open dissemination policy, and make freely available a wide variety of data and metadata through official publications, press releases, and on the Internet.

I. Introduction

1. The data dissemination module of this ROSC (Volume I) provides a summary of Latvia’s practices on the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness of the data categories respecting the SDDS. It is complemented by a summary assessment of the quality of national accounts, consumer and producer price indices, and government finance, monetary, and balance of payments statistics using the Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF) developed by the IMF Statistics Department. The underlying detailed assessments (published as Volume III of this report) are based on information provided prior to and during a staff mission from September 3–17, 2003,1 publicly available information, and information from written responses to a survey questionnaire from, as well as face to face consultations with, a variety of data users.

2. Section II includes an overview of the SDDS and an assessment of Latvia’s data dissemination practices against this standard. Section III presents a summary assessment of the quality of the principal macroeconomic datasets, following the dataset-specific assessment frameworks. Finally, Section IV sets out recommendations to achieve further improvements in Latvia’s statistics.

II. Data Dissemination Practices and the Special Data Dissemination Standard

3. Latvia subscribed to the SDDS on November 1, 1996 and posted its metadata on April 27, 1997. It is in full observance of SDDS requirements, taking no flexibility options. Latvia has disseminated the information on its National Summary Data Page on a timely basis. Since IMF staff began monitoring subscribers’ observance of the data and advance release calendar elements of the SDDS in July 2000, there have been no observance related issues. Latvia has provided all 21 summary methodologies, and all have been posted on the Data Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB). The data template on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity was posted to the DSBB on September 28, 1999.

4. Three official institutions are responsible for the compilation and dissemination of the SDDS prescribed data categories:

  • CSB: national accounts, production index, labor market, price indices, general government operations (on a 1995 ESA basis), merchandise trade, and population.

  • The Treasury of the Republic of Latvia: central and local government operations, and central government debt.

  • BOL: analytical accounts of the banking sector, analytical accounts of the central bank, interest and exchange rates, international reserves and foreign currency liquidity, balance of payments, IIP, and external debt.

The Riga Stock Exchange compiles the share price index and disseminates it from its website (

These data can be accessed in publications and on the following Internet websites:

Central Statistical Bureau website (

Bank of Latvia website (

Ministry of Finance website (

Treasury website (

Data dimension: coverage, periodicity, and timeliness

5. As shown in Table 1, Latvia fully meets the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness requirements of the SDDS and exceeds the timeliness requirements for all real sector data sets, government operations, balance of payments, and the international investment position (IIP). Latvia also exceeds the periodicity requirements for balance of payments and the IIP.

Table 1.

Latvia: Overview of Current Practices Regarding Coverage, Periodicity, and Timeliness of Data Compared to the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS)

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Note: Periodicity and timeliness: (D) daily; (W) weekly or with a lag of no more than one week from the reference data or the closing of the reference week; (M) monthly or with a lag of no more than one month; (Q) quarterly or with a lag of no more than one quarter; (A) annually; and (…) not applicable.

Given that the data are broadly disseminated by private means, the timeliness with which official data are disseminated is not time critical.

Access dimension

6. Advance release calendars, giving at least one-quarter notice of approximate release dates and at least one-week notice of the precise release dates, are disseminated on the IMF’s DSBB, as well as on the websites of the BOL and CSB noted above. The public are informed of this in relevant publications of the BOL and the CSB.

7. The data are released simultaneously to all interested parties through press releases and/or on the websites of the relevant agencies and on Latvia’s National Summary Data Page.

Integrity dimension

8. As required by the SDDS, information on terms and conditions that govern the collection, compilation, and dissemination of data, including the confidentiality of the data collected, is available to the public. There is no pre-release access to statistics published by the CSB and MOF, and no government access outside the BOL for the statistics it publishes.

Quality dimension

All 21 summary methodology statements have been provided to the IMF and posted on the DSBB. In addition, methodological information is disseminated by the CSB, MOF, State Treasury, and BOL. Latvian data producers also disseminate component detail and additional data series that make possible cross checks and checks of reasonableness for all data categories to the extent permitted by rules preventing disclosure of individual responses.

Monitoring of data

9. In accordance with the IMF Executive Board’s Third Review of the SDDS, the IMF staff began monitoring subscribers’ performance under the SDDS in July 2000. This verifies not only that data coverage, periodicity, and timeliness are disseminated according to the calendar, but also that the data disseminated correspond to the DSBB metadata. During the quarters July 2000–June 2003, Latvia’s dissemination practices have been in observance of the SDDS requirements, and the dissemination of data on Latvia’s National Summary Data Page has been timely.

III. Summary Assessment of Data Quality

10. Interest in assessing the quality of data derives from the objectives of complementing the SDDS with a consideration of the quality of the data being disseminated and of focusing more closely on the quality of the data that underpin surveillance of countries’ economic policies. Against this background, the Statistics Department of the IMF has developed a tool, the DQAF, to provide a structure and a common language to assess data quality. The DQAF comprises a generic framework2 and a set of dataset-specific frameworks. The frameworks cover five dimensions of data quality—integrity, methodological soundness, accuracy and reliability, serviceability, and accessibility—and a set of prerequisites. 3

11. An assessment of six macroeconomic datasets (national accounts, consumer price index, producer price index, government finance, monetary, and balance of payments statistics) was conducted using the frame of reference provided by the dataset-specific DQAF. The information resulting from the application of this framework to the Latvian statistical system is presented below, following the structure of the DQAF. Conclusions are also presented in the form of standardized summary tables in which the assessment of data practices is made on a qualitative basis, using a four-part scale (Table 2 of this data module, Volume I, and Tables 1–6 in the Detailed Assessments, Volume III).

Table 2.

Latvia: Data Quality Assessment Framework—Summary Presentation of Results

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Key to symbols: NA = Not Applicable; O = Practice Observed; LO = Practice Largely Observed; LNO = Practice Largely Not Observed; NO = Practice Not Observed

Prerequisites of quality

This category in the DQAF identifies conditions within the agency in charge of producing statistics that have an impact on data quality. The elements within the category refer to the legal and institutional environment, resources, and quality awareness.

12. The CSB is established under legislation as the central statistical agency responsible for the collection, processing, and dissemination of most of the official statistics and the CSB is recognized as the pre-eminent statistical authority in Latvia. The Law on State Statistics (Statistics Law) gives wide access to records, and provides authority for mandatory reporting. Within the institutional environment for statistics, the CSB promulgates statistical standards that are required to be used by all government data-producing agencies and formulates an annual statistical program in consultation with the other agencies. Statistical forms are required to be registered with, and approved by, the CSB each year.

13. Respondents’ individual data are required to be kept confidential under the Statistics Law and the CSB has a number of procedures in place to safeguard confidentiality. There are legal mandates requiring cooperation by respondents but the CSB relies mainly on persuasion to ensure adequate response levels.

14. Staff resources are generally adequate for the tasks but there is strong competition for qualified professionals. Staff members working on national accounts and price statistics are, in general, well qualified and highly experienced. Professional development of staff is supported by external training and workshops provided by various international organizations. Computing facilities recently have been upgraded, and some recent systems improvements are enhancing productivity. Management emphasizes quality of data and services and processes are in place to ensure good quality in national accounts and prices statistics.

15. The legal and institutional environment set out in the Law of Budget and Financial Management and the Regulation of the Treasury gives the MOF and the Treasury the responsibility for compiling and disseminating government operations and debt statistics. The legislation makes reporting mandatory and provides for confidentiality of individual data. Regarding resources, the staff compiling GFS source data at the MOF are highly qualified and experienced, but might be insufficient in number to ensure a smooth transition to the latest methodological standard, GFSM 2001, linked with the adoption of the 1995 ESA. This transition will require additional training. Quality awareness is well developed, as evidenced by the rules of staff conduct in the State Civil Service Law, the quality of staff recruited by the MOF, and the Treasury, and the focus on accuracy and reliability. The Treasury has a Quality Management Department and has set strategic goals to enhance quality and efficiency.

16. The Statistics Law along with the Law on the Bank of Latvia set the legal and institutional environment for balance of payments and monetary statistics. They assign the BOL clear responsibility for collecting, processing, analyzing, and disseminating monetary statistics and the balance of payments. The BOL’s working arrangements are governed by laws, regulations (adopted by the BOL’s Board of Governors or Executive Board), orders (issued by the BOL’s Governor or Chairperson of the Executive Board), procedures (shaped by the BOL’s Quality Management System), and instructions. The BOL produces monetary and balance of payments statistics in its Statistics Department, in cooperation with other units such as its Monetary Operations and Accounting Departments.

17. The BOL has an agreement with the MOF on the exchange of statistical data relating to government finance, international reserves, and foreign currency liquidity. The agreement specifies the shared data categories, their timeliness, their periodicity, and the method of transmitting data. The BOL has an interagency agreement with the CSB on statistical cooperation and information exchange, as well. The official foreign trade statistics compiled by the CSB always have been used in the balance of payments, while the CSB uses balance of payments and IIP data for the national accounts. Besides the CSB, the BOL maintains close contacts with other institutions on balance of payments data sources, such as the ministries of the Republic of Latvia, the Financial and Capital Market Commission, the State Revenue Service, and the State Social Security Agency.

18. The Statistics Law establishes the confidentiality and use of official statistical data, including the data the BOL produces. Under Article 3 state statistics shall be based on the principles of statistical confidentiality and transparency. Article 18 deals specifically with confidentiality issues. Article 10 of the Statistics Law and Article 8 of the Law on Credit Institutions mandates reporting statistical information to the BOL within its areas of responsibility. Penalties for noncompliance can be applied under Article 166.6 of the Republic of Latvia Code of Administrative Offences.

19. Statistical resources are sufficient. Overall, the number of the staff is adequate to perform the present scope of duties; however, should the range of statistics collected expand, additional staff would be required. The staff are experienced and competent, with adequate qualifications and technical skills. They have received formal training both from internal and outside experts, including the European Central Bank (ECB) and the IMF. The management of the Statistics Department endeavors to retain a core contingent of the trained staff by motivating and developing employees. The BOL’s policy on information systems is to follow modern technologies and introduce them as rapidly as possible and appropriate. Financial resources are commensurate with the requirements of statistical programs.

20. Quality awareness is fully in evidence throughout the BOL’s statistical programs. On May 18, 2000, the Bureau Veritas Latvia conferred ISO quality management certification on the BOL. The BOL currently conforms with the ISO 9001:2000 standard. The BOL’s quality management system aims to achieve maximum satisfaction of the BOL’s clients, comprising its own organizational units and management, credit institutions, and the general public.


Integrity identifies features that support firm adherence to objectivity in the collection, compilation, and dissemination of statistics so as to maintain users’ confidence. Elements refer to the professionalism and ethical standards that should guide policies and practices, which should be reinforced by their transparency.

21. In support of the professionalism with which statistics are compiled and disseminated, the Statistics Law provides that state statistics shall be objective, reliable, relevant, and efficient. These values are promulgated through the CSB’s strategic plan and in staff instructions. The CSB promotes professionalism through the active encouragement of staff participation in training, workshops, and seminars (including events sponsored by Eurostat), to ensure awareness and understanding of statistical standards and good statistical practice. A recent survey of users showed that a majority (between 60 and 80 percent) agreed with statements that the CSB was trustworthy and provided information that is valuable to the public. Choices of sources and statistical techniques are informed by statistical considerations at the national and European levels. The staff indicates there have been no attempts at interference from outside the organization in matters of sources, methods, and dissemination. The CSB produces statistics on an impartial basis and staff members state they are free to choose the most appropriate data sources and methods. While the Director General is allowed to comment on any erroneous interpretation of statistics, there have been few instances where a response to public criticism has been required.

22. In promoting transparency, the Statistics Law is publicly available and CSB publications provide information about sources and methods. There is no pre-release to government officials of national accounts or prices publications. Some advance information about methodological changes is provided to the public but there is scope for increasing this in the case of national accounts. The State Civil Service Law contains a pledge on ethical standards for civil service candidates as well as the basic duties of a civil servant, which are made known to the staff.

23. The professionalism and transparency of central government statistics are ensured by current practices within the MOF and included in the Statistics Law, which covers all national and local government institutions involved in state statistics. Choices of sources and statistical techniques are made on the basis of statistical considerations and international standards. Laws and regulations governing the compilation and dissemination are freely disseminated to the public on the websites of the MOF and the Treasury. However, major changes in methodology, source data, and techniques are mentioned in the Monthly Bulletin of Latvian Statistics only at the time of change and for a period following implementation, but not in advance. Guidelines on ethical standards for staff are in place. The State Civil Service Law contains a pledge for civil service candidates as well as the basic duties of a civil servant, which staff must sign when they are recruited.

24. The professional independence of the BOL’s statistical staff is assured by legislation and the BOL’s own practices. The Statistics Law addresses the general need for the professional independence of data producing agencies. Article 13 of the Law on the Bank of Latvia explicitly establishes the independence of the BOL in fulfilling its responsibilities of producing statistics. Decisions about the choice of data sources and statistical techniques are made solely on the basis of data quality considerations. The main data sources and basic principles used for the balance of payments compilation are disseminated to the public on the BOL’s, IMF’s, and ECB’s website and in hardcopy publications, respectively. Should misinterpretation or misuse of the BOL’s statistics come to the attention of the Public Relations Department, it, in cooperation with the other relevant departments, would prepare comments or explanations.

25. The BOL’s practices are transparent. The BOL disseminates the terms and conditions for collecting, compiling, and disseminating monetary and balance of payments statistics on its website. No public official outside the BOL has access to monetary or balance of payments statistics prior to publication. The approval processes for the publication of statistics rest entirely with the BOL. Statistics are first released by posting them on the BOL’s website in accordance with the advance release calendar. All publications of the BOL clearly display the BOL’s logotype. At least one-month advance notice is given regarding changes in methodology via the BOL’s website.

26. Ethical standards are part of the employment contract signed between the BOL and its staff. The BOL’s Personnel Department has developed an internal regulation on ethical standards to be observed by the staff. The regulation covers the BOL’s policies on conflict of interest, information security, and protection from disclosure of source information from individual respondents. In addition, Article 31 of the Law on the Bank of Latvia establishes restrictions on holding more than one position by the BOL’s Governor, Deputy Governor, members of the Board of Governors and the Executive Board, as well as their responsibilities under the Law on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Activities of Public Officials.

Methodological soundness

Methodological soundness refers to the application of international standards, guidelines, and agreed practices. Application of such standards, which are specific to the dataset, is indicative of the soundness of the data and fosters international comparability. Elements refer to the basic building blocks of concepts and definitions, scope, classification and sectorization, and basis for recording.

27. The national accounts concepts and definitions and basis for recording are firmly based on the 1993 SNA and 1995 ESA. The CSB produces and publishes a wide range of quarterly and annual GDP estimates and the full sequence of accounts. Latvia exceeds the minimum requirements set by the Intersecretariat Working Group on National Accounts. Input-output tables have been produced periodically from 1995 and are planned to be produced annually in future. Classification and sectorization systems conform to international standards. Flows and stocks are recorded at market prices. Government receipts and expenditures are on an accrual basis, in some cases adjusted from a cash basis by the CSB.

28. The consumer price index (CPI) follows the concepts and definitions and the basis for recording of international good practice. It is consistent with national accounts concepts for household consumption expenditure. The scope of the CPI covers the monetary consumption expenditures that noninstitutionalized resident households make on their own behalf. However, it excludes coverage of owner-occupied dwellings either on a rental or net acquisition basis. Expenditures follow the COICOP classification which is in line with accepted practice. The overall structure follows the Eurostat regulation for the Harmonised Indices of Consumer Prices.

29. The producer price indices (PPIs) follow the concepts and definitions and the basis for recording principles of the national accounts. The scope of the PPIs is all resident market enterprises, and covers the output of mining and quarrying, manufactured goods, and electricity, gas, and water supply. Their coverage of output is consistent with the national accounts for the covered products, with the exception of the adjustment national accountants make for the non-observed economy. The classification of establishments follows the General Industrial Classification of Economic Activities within the European Communities (NACE) and products are classified according to the PRODCOM classification which is in accordance with good practice.

30. For government finance statistics, the concepts and definitions used in the Treasury data sources conform with A Manual on Government Finance Statistics 1986 (GFSM 1986) and are recorded on a cash basis. The CSB is responsible for accrual-based annual GFS in accordance with the 1995 ESA. The scope of the statistics is broad, covering operations of all units of central government (including budgetary central government (the State Budget), social security, and extra-budgetary funds), local governments, and consolidated general government. All of these statistics are compiled on a monthly and quarterly basis. Moreover, central government debt is recorded on a quarterly basis. The classification of government operations is closely in line with the GFSM 1986, although for the purpose of the IMF’s Government Finance Statistics Yearbook 2003 (cash) data have been submitted according to the classification in GFSM 2001. Recording of government operations is still mainly on a cash basis. A migration path is mapped out to adapt the budget classification in accordance with the 1995 ESA and with the accrual concepts of the GFSM 2001. It is planned that, the budget execution in 2005 will be according to the new classification and expenditures will be on an accrual basis. As noted under national accounts, these data are adjusted to an accruals basis by the CSB. Debt data are further broken down by original maturity and mainly recorded at the discounted price (issue value) and face value (as a memorandum item) rather than current market value. GFS are presented on a gross consolidated basis, as is appropriate.

31. The concepts and definitions of monetary statistics are in broad conformity with the guidelines of the Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual (MFSM). In compliance with the ECB requirements on pre-accession countries, the Banking and Monetary Statistics Division (BMSD) generally follows ECB regulations in sectorizing the economy, as well as valuing and classifying financial instruments. The scope of the monetary statistics is broadly in line with the guidelines of the MFSM. Classification and sectorization are based on the 1995 ESA and are generally in line with the MFSM, except a few accounts need revision (reclassifying IMF-related accounts and including accrued interest in the outstanding value of financial instruments), and the general government subsectors should be identified separately. The basis for recording follows ECB recommendations and thus is largely consistent with the MFSM. The deviations from MFSM include, data on accrued interest are not available by both instrument and sector, and accounts payable/receivable and financial derivatives are not broken down by institutional sector.

32. The balance of payments statistics closely follow the concepts and definitions set out in the Balance of Payments Manual, fifth edition (BPM5). The scope is in line with internationally accepted standards. In principle, Latvia’s balance of payments covers all transactions between residents and nonresidents, and all institutional units engaged in actions with nonresidents are covered. The classification and sectorization of the accounts are fully consistent with the BPM5. The breakdown for the balance of payments components is comprehensive and includes a more detailed classification for services than that of the BPM5. The basis for recording is broadly consistent with international standards. Market prices are used to value most flows and stocks, and all foreign currency transactions are converted to lats using the exchange rate prevailing on the day of the transaction. Most transactions are recorded on an accrual basis. Grossing/netting procedures are broadly consistent with the BPM5.

Accuracy and reliability

Accuracy and reliability identifies features that contribute to the goal that data portray reality. Elements refer to identified features of the source data, statistical techniques, and supporting assessments and validation.

33. The national accounts source data refer to a wide range of annual and sub-annual surveys and administrative statistics that are compiled to international standards, are subject to various validation checks, and, in general, produce data of acceptable quality. There appears to be a break in the continuity of the household budget survey (HBS) data between the 2000 and 2002 surveys due to the combined effects of improvements in methodology, update of the survey frame with 2000 census data, and a reduced sample size. In estimating household consumption expenditure after 2000, the CSB took account of growth rates in retail turnover as measured in the retail trade survey. In general, the data are available according to timetables that are acceptable for national accounts purposes. Many of the surveys are based on a statistical business register that has been progressively refined in recent years.

34. Regarding statistical techniques, improvements are being made in the measurement of consumption of fixed capital, progressively adopting the perpetual inventory model, and in dwelling services using improved rent data. Constant price estimates are mainly calculated using single deflation of output with Laspeyres chain price indices, but the CSB aims to move progressively to double deflation of value added. In compiling GDP by production appropriate output price indices are used for most economic activities. In some cases, however, volume measures are used to extrapolate base year data. A systematic approach is adopted for estimation of the non-observed economy, which is significant at about 15 percent of GDP. The sources and methodology are being progressively refined. Illegal activities are not included but experimental estimates have been made for some illegal activities. Additional activities that appear significant and merit study include production of illegal alcohol, trade in stolen cars, and smuggling activities generally.

35. The assessment of source and intermediate data is facilitated by estimation of GDP independently from the production and expenditure sides. The statistical discrepancy is incorporated in changes in inventories on the expenditure side. The discrepancy in 2000–2002 has been between -0.5 percent and 0.6 percent of annual GDP. The discrepancy is -2.1 percent to 5.3 percent of quarterly GDP. Standard errors calculated from the HBS and enterprise surveys could be used to better inform survey management. To assess revisions, differences between preliminary and final data are tracked and taken into account in compiling estimates for subsequent periods. It would be desirable to conduct formal studies of revisions.

36. The CSB obtains the weights and prices source data for the CPI from comprehensive surveys. The ongoing HBS allows for annual updating of the index, and the monthly price survey comprises about 18,100 prices per month, collected from 2,400 outlets in a representative 15 of the 26 regions. The statistical techniques used in calculating the index are sound. Prices are imputed when products are off-season or temporarily unavailable. The assessment and validation of the weights and prices are systematic and thorough. The CPI is not revised.

37. The weights of the PPI are updated annually, and new products are introduced each year when the enterprise sample is updated to replace those that have declined in importance. The source data for the weights are the business surveys which have full coverage for large enterprises, and use a stratified random sample for the remainder. The samples of elementary items on which the CSB collects prices are cut-off samples of establishments’ main products, comprising about 1,500 quotes per month from about 400 enterprises. Missing prices are imputed and statistical techniques are generally sound, pending implementation of plans to align the reference period of the price relatives with the reference period of the weights. The assessment and validation of the price data are systematic and effective.

38. For government finance statistics, source data are available in a very timely manner and provide an adequate basis to compile statistics. Source data on the budgetary units, extrabudgetary funds, the social security fund, and the local governments are available from the Treasury’s State budget execution and local governments data processing systems, which include all the common details on revenue and expenditure, the latter by economic classification as well as according to the COFOG functional classification system. Statistical techniques employed are sound, although estimations and other statistical procedures are rarely necessary. Assessment and validation of source and intermediate data are routinely made. Prior to data release, quality controls are conducted. The GFS data are revised only very exceptionally, for example following methodological changes.

39. The source data for monetary statistics are collected under EU regulations and in accordance with the new ECB framework. The source data are derived from comprehensive accounting records of the BOL and other depository corporations. The data capture the full range of financial instruments and economic sectors. Statistical techniques are sound. Electronic reporting and data processing, automated validation procedures, and documentation of data compilation practices contribute to the production of accurate and timely monetary statistics. Regular assessment and validation of source data and intermediate results as well as statistical outputs are robust. While no formal revision studies are undertaken, revisions between preliminary and final data are investigated and documented to minimize revisions arising from response errors.

40. Source data are broadly sufficient to compile the balance of payments statistics in line with the BPM5 and are kept under continuous review to keep them comprehensive. The main data sources are the BOL’s quarterly surveys, ITRS data, banking statistics, BOL’s data, and administrative data sources. These sources are timely and reasonably approximate the BPM5 definitions, scope, classifications, valuation, and time of recording. Adjustments to source data are made where necessary to align them with BPM5 concepts. In general, the statistical techniques are sound. Bank reports are submitted and compiled electronically. Nonbank reports are processed manually, but built-in checks for internal consistency and logical errors are in place. Data adjustments and transformations are undertaken to derive some balance of payments components. Assessment and validation of data and statistical outputs are generally sound, and have led to statistical improvements. Source data are validated against other independent data sources, whenever appropriate, and the behavior of time series is cross-checked with related series. Statistical discrepancies and other potential indicators of problems in statistical outputs are investigated. Although no formal revision studies are published, the reasons for revisions to the data are investigated and documented.


Serviceability focuses on practical aspects of how well a dataset meets users’ needs. Elements refer to the extent to which data are relevant, produced, and disseminated in a timely fashion with appropriate periodicity, are consistent internally and with other datasets, and follow a predictable revisions policy.

41. Regarding relevance, the national accounts program adequately responds to users’ needs, although no surveys of users have been conducted for national accounts statistics nor have any working groups or advisory groups been established. The CSB has, however, conducted surveys of users at a more general level and is contemplating creation of user committees, including for the national accounts. The national accounts meet the SDDS periodicity requirement and exceed the timeliness requirement.

42. The GDP data are reconciled by incorporating the statistical discrepancy in the changes in inventories component. In recent years supply-and-use tables have been used to identify major discrepancies and to improve the consistency of the estimates. The national accounts are reconcilable to balance of payments and government finance statistics. Consistent GDP time series are available from 1990. The CSB has the elements of a revision policy in place but this has not been well articulated for the benefit of users. Neither preliminary nor revised data are clearly identified. Revision studies generally are not made public.

43. The CPI appears to meet users’ needs. The PPIs meet the needs of users interested in industrial sectors. The CSB monitors the relevance and consistency of its price indices for users through frequent consultation with government users and through periodic user surveys. The timeliness and periodicity of the CPI and the manufactured goods PPI meet or exceed SDDS requirements. The revision policy is known to users.

44. The government finance statistics are relevant for the main users. For example, GFS are used in the dialog with rating agencies and as a basis for macroeconomic projections made by the Economic Analysis and Forecasting Department of the MOF. They also are the source data for various statistics compiled by the BOL and CSB. Users’ needs are monitored via a Treasury electronic mail box. Further liaison with users could be undertaken under a CSB national accounts user group. The timeliness and periodicity on central and general government operations and debt data meet the SDDS requirements. GFS are consistent within the dataset; historical data are rarely revised. Moreover, GFS are broadly consistent with other statistical frameworks, though not fully with the BOL monetary statistics. The revision policy is explained on the DSBB, which is hyperlinked to the MOF’s and CSB’s websites. The Treasury’s monthly data, which are preliminary when first released, are not revised. Preliminary summary annual data are revised later in the year, but revisions are not indicated to users. The CSB’s revision policy on GFS follows that of the national accounts.

45. The relevance of monetary statistics is supported by a state program on statistics and largely assessed in the context of the ECB’s requirements. Users’ needs are monitored based on regular contact with users on an informal basis and users’ feedback sent regularly to the BOL electronic mail address. BMSD staff regularly participate in international statistical meetings and seminars organized by international organizations. The timeliness and periodicity of the data meet SDDS requirements. Monetary statistics are consistent within the dataset and over time. While monetary statistics are consistent with those of the balance of payments, there are discrepancies with GFS. Revisions to monthly monetary statistics are rare and generally small, and, thus, data are not identified as preliminary. Revisions are identified when they take place and the BOL gives at least one-month notice of revisions on its website. The revision policy is publicly available.

46. The relevance of balance of payments statistics in meeting users’ needs is supported by a state program on statistics and monitored by the Balance of Payments Statistics Division (BOPSD) staff through regular contact with users on an informal basis. BOPSD staff regularly participate in international statistical meetings and seminars organized by international organizations on balance of payments compilation issues. The timeliness and periodicity of the data exceed SDDS requirements. Balance of payments statistics are consistent within the dataset, with other macroeconomic datasets, and over time since 1992. The official foreign trade statistics compiled by the CSB always have been used in the balance of payments, while the CSB uses balance of payments and IIP data from the BOL in the national accounts. The balance of payments are fully reconciled with the IIP. The revision policy follows a regular pattern and is explained on the Fund’s Data Standards Bulletin Board. Revised data need to be more clearly indicated.


Accessibility deals with the availability of information to users. Element refers to the extent to which data and metadata are clear and easily available and to which assistance to the users is adequate to help them find and use the data.

47. The accessibility of the annual and quarterly national accounts data is generally good. They are published in detail and with adequate time series in a range of publications. National accounts data are also available free of charge on the CSB’s website and in other electronic forms. Subscription access to the CSB’s web publications provides and incorporates long time series in tabular and spread-sheet format, and incorporates graphical analysis facilities. Publications are clear and comprehensive and the statistical tables are well supported by graphs and charts. However, the publications do not make it clear to users that the statistical discrepancy between the estimates of GDP by the production and expenditure approaches is included in the estimate of changes in inventories. Nonpublished nonconfidential data are available to users on request but this is not publicized. There is a preannounced release schedule which is almost always met. National accounts data are made available to all users at the same time and quarterly data are released at a press conference. Metadata are shown on the DSBB and in publications, although in some publications this is in very summary form.

48. Regarding assistance to users, all publications identify appropriate contact persons. National accounts are mentioned in the annual catalog of data products and are available at an information center where data products and the website may be accessed. Information centers are being established in three regions.

49. The CPI and PPI are released on a preannounced schedule. The CSB makes the data accessible to all users at the same time, through their website, fax, and e-mail. As with the national accounts, web access via subscription provides detailed, long time series and graphical analysis features. The monthly CPI publication and the quarterly PPI publication provide good detail on the indices and include adequate metadata. Assistance to users on price statistics is provided through a well-equipped information center and catalogs are freely available.

50. Data accessibility for government finance statistics is adequate. Detailed data on government operations, revenue and expenditure, are available. Government debt data are available on the Treasury’s website but could be included in the Monthly Bulletin of Latvian Statistics. The statistics are released to all users at the same time and in accordance with advance release calendars. Although metadata are reasonably complete on the DSBB website, methodological explanation in national publications could be more comprehensive. Assistance to users is provided through the Internet and knowledgeable and supportive service is provided upon request. The MOF Treasury provides a contact person on cash basis source data for GFS on the IMF’s DSBB website but not on its own website or in its publications. The CSB provides a contact in its publication containing GFS on a 1995 ESA basis, however. The CSB provides assistance to users on GFS through its information centers and catalogs are freely available.

51. Monetary statistics are easily accessible through the BOL’s website and publications. Data are presented in a clear format supported by charts that facilitate their use and interpretation. Statistics are released on a preannounced schedule and simultaneously to all users. Metadata accessibility is provided as summary methodology statements for all monetary data categories which are posted on the DSBB and hyperlinked to the BOL’s website. Assistance to users is facilitated by provision of a contact telephone number and facsimile in BOL publications and on its website. The BOL also provides a contact person on the IMF’s DSBB website and in ECB publications. More commentary and explanations of monetary statistics in BOL publications and on its website would enhance already adequate documentation. All publications are available on the BOL’s website and can be requested on hard print free of charge.

52. Data accessibility for balance of payments statistics is adequate. The data are presented in a clear manner, forms of dissemination are adequate, and statistics are released to all users at the same time. Statistics are released on the preannounced schedule. Metadata accessibility is good, with detailed information provided in BOL, IMF, and ECB publications as well as on the BOL’s and IMF’s DSBB websites. Assistance to users is facilitated by provision of a contact telephone number and facsimile in BOL publications and on its website. The BOL also provides a contact person on the IMF’s DSBB website and in ECB publications. All publications are available on the BOL’s website and can be requested on hard print free of charge.

IV. Staff’s Recommendations

53. Based on the results of the data quality assessment, discussions with the Latvian authorities in the statistics-compiling agencies, and responses from data users, the following measures are proposed to increase further Latvia’s data quality, including adherence to international statistical guidelines.

National Accounts

High priority

  • Establish a user advisory group, representing major government, private sector, and academic users.

  • Progressively improve measurement of: consumption of fixed capital (using the perpetual inventory model) and dwelling services (adopting the rental equivalence or user cost approach).

  • Closely monitor HBS data, and the underlying methodology, to ensure data reliability.

  • Review inclusion of the statistical discrepancy with changes in inventories, conduct periodic systematic studies of the statistical discrepancy, and clarify its treatment in publications.

  • Clearly identify preliminary and revised data in data releases.

Other key recommendations

  • Provide information to users about methodological issues and upcoming changes in sources and methods, and about actions taken to ensure the quality of national accounts statistics.

  • Calculate standard errors regularly for major surveys whose designs permit them, and use them to guide survey planning.

  • Conduct surveys of user needs for national accounts periodically.

  • Conduct and publish analyses of revisions.

  • Publicize the availability of electronic and unpublished data.

  • Provide more detailed metadata in selected publications.


High priority

  • Develop a survey for measuring dwelling rents.

  • Cover owner-occupied dwellings in the index.

Other key recommendations

  • Consider introducing the class mean imputation method for imputing the prices of seasonal items.


Other key recommendations

  • Support the CSB’s plan to price align reference period of the weights with the base period of the price relatives.

  • Support plans to extend the coverage of the index to include services in consultation with the national accounts section of the CSB.

Government Finance Statistics

High priority

  • Support the initiatives taken within the MOF, Treasury, CSB, and BOL to update the chart of accounts underlying the GFS classification in accordance with the 1995 ESA and GFSM 2001; draw up a clear implementation calendar and specify the resources needed to keep the process moving.

  • Support the development of an Instruction by the Minister of Finance on the adoption of accrual accounting standards for expenditure; during the transition process, all expenses of all government units should be included and shown in the budget execution system.

  • Draw up a comprehensive action plan for the transition of government revenue accounting from cash to accrual basis.

Other key recommendations

  • Disseminate more detailed descriptions of methodology and procedure, and indicate breaks in time series and revision status of the data. Indicate changes in methodology, source data, and statistical techniques in advance.

  • Disseminate comprehensive government debt data in conjunction with regular releases of GFS.

  • Continue liaison with other agencies to establish a definitive list of government sector institutions.

  • Consider the possibilities for classifying domestic and foreign government debt by the residency of the holder rather than the currency of the instrument.

Monetary Statistics

High priority

  • In accordance with MFSM guidelines, revise published tables for back dates as far as possible by (1) reclassifying IMF-related accounts in the central bank survey, and (2) including accrued interest in the outstanding value of financial instruments by sector.

  • In accordance with MFSM guidelines, separately identify subsectors of the general government.

  • In cooperation with the MOF, reconcile monetary and government finance statistics, and carry out the reconciliation exercise on a regular basis.

Other key recommendations

  • To enhance already adequate documentation, provide more commentary and explanations of monetary statistics in BOL publications and on its website.

Balance of Payments Statistics

High priority

  • Support ongoing efforts to revise past data on goods for processing and current transfers as far back as possible, following recent methodological changes.

  • Support plans to expand the collection system by introducing a new survey on other services in 2004 and a revised survey on foreign investment collecting flow as well as stock data in 2005.

Other key recommendations

  • Support ongoing efforts to ensure that goods for processing be recorded on a gross basis by identifying specific measures through a joint study undertaken by the BOL, CSB, and Customs.

  • To avoid import timing distortions, further amend the customs law to record imports on the date of entry rather than when leaving bonded warehouses and free-trade zones.

  • Clearly identify revised data together with the revision policy in BOL publications and website.


The mission team was headed by Kimberly Zieschang and included Russel Freeman, and Elizabeth Sumar (all STA), David Allen, Alexandra Wesseling (experts), and Janice Irving (STA—Administrative Assistant).


Information on data quality can be found at the IMF’s website on the “Data Quality Reference Site” (


See also the Generic Framework set out in Appendix II of the accompanying Detailed Assessments, Volume III.