Mexican macroeconomic statistics are in a period of transition as recent laws have strengthened the legal backing and have changed institutional arrangements. Mexico is in observance of the Special Data Dissemination Standard, meeting the specifications for data coverage, periodicity and timeliness, and the dissemination of advance release calendars. Executive Directors suggest enhancing cross-domain cooperation within and among statistical agencies and national accounts, government finance, and monetary and balance of payments statistics with the purpose of improving their international comparability.


Mexican macroeconomic statistics are in a period of transition as recent laws have strengthened the legal backing and have changed institutional arrangements. Mexico is in observance of the Special Data Dissemination Standard, meeting the specifications for data coverage, periodicity and timeliness, and the dissemination of advance release calendars. Executive Directors suggest enhancing cross-domain cooperation within and among statistical agencies and national accounts, government finance, and monetary and balance of payments statistics with the purpose of improving their international comparability.

I. Overall Assessment

1. Mexico has been a subscriber of the SDDS since August 1996, posting its metadata on the Fund’s Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB) in March 1998. Mexico is in observance of the SDDS, meeting the specifications for data coverage, periodicity and timeliness, and the dissemination of advance release calendars. Mexico avails itself of a flexibility option on the timeliness of general government or public sector operations. Appendix I provides an overview of Mexico’s dissemination practices compared with the SDDS.

2. This Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) data module is a reassessment of the exercise conducted in February/March 2002, but applies an updated framework (IMF’s Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF July 2003)) and covers national accounts, government finance, monetary and balance of payments statistics.1 The National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) is responsible for the national accounts, the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) for the government finance statistics, except for state and local government statistics, which are the responsibility of INEGI to compile and disseminate, and the Bank of Mexico (BM) for monetary and balance of payments statistics. The macroeconomic statistics are generally of a high quality, although there is some variation among datasets (see Table 1), and adequate to conduct effective surveillance. The mission found a high degree of quality awareness, professionalism, and integrity in all the compiling agencies.

Table 1.

Mexico Data Quality Assessment Framework Version July 2003—Summary Results

article image
Practice observed: Current practices generally meet or achieve the objectives of DQAF internationally accepted statistical practices without any significant deficiencies.Practice largely observed: Some departures, but these are not seen as sufficient to raise doubts about the authorities’ ability to observe the DQAF practices. Practice largely not observed: Significant departures and the authorities will need to take significant action to achieve observance. Practice not observed: Most DQAF practices are not met. Not applicable: Used only exceptionally when statistical practices do not apply to a country’s circumstances.

3. Mexican macroeconomic statistics are in a period of transition as recent laws, including the Law of the National System of Information on Statistics and Geography (LSNIEG), have strengthened the legal backing and changed institutional arrangements. The implications of these changes are just beginning to be felt. The LSNIEG created a national system of statistics and geographic information (SNIEG) overseen by a National Statistical Council, with the support of specialist subsystems committees.2 The system has just started to operate. INEGI is now an autonomous legal entity separate from the SHCP, has a clear legal mandate to compile and disseminate data on national accounts statistics, and is the coordinator of the SNIEG. From the discussions undertaken by the mission, this more robust institutional framework should allow a holistic view of the statistical system to be taken and, through the coordinating role of INEGI, the adoption of common statistical standards across all datasets of national interest.3

4. The ROSC mission assessed the quality of Mexican macroeconomic statistics as at the time of the visit. The mission observed variation across domains in terms of the improvements made since 2002. In national accounts, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) for classifying economic activity across public institutions has been introduced and the base year of the national accounts updated to 2003. In monetary statistics, the BM and the banking and security supervisor (CNBV) have cooperated closely to reduce the burden of reporting on financial institutions, while coverage of the financial sector has improved very significantly. In government finance (GFS) and balance of payments (BOP) statistics changes are underway. The full implementation by end 2012 of the General Law on Government Accounting should improve the compilation and dissemination of GFS, not least with regard to states and municipalities, and with regard to international statistical and accounting standards. Further, early in 2010, through the committee structure of the SNIEG, it was decided in principle that Mexico should adopt the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, Sixth Edition (BPM6).

5. Despite the progress made and envisaged, there is scope for further improvement. The mission identified the need for greater consistency in recording across, and even within, agencies and for regular reconciliation exercises. The creation of SNIEG provides an excellent opportunity to improve this situation, and to proactively respond to emerging issues. Wider adoption of international statistical standards would also promote consistency. Also, across the domains, there is a need for more regular consultation with users. Periodic but regular meetings with users could help build greater understanding of the work of statistical agencies and enhance the statistical work of the agencies.

6. In applying the IMF’s DQAF the remainder of this section presents the mission’s main findings. The findings are presented at the level of the DQAF’s quality dimensions, by agency for the first two dimensions, and across datasets for the remaining four.

7. Prerequisites of quality and assurances of integrity

  • The LSNIEG establishes that INEGI has the exclusive responsibility for integrating the national accounts (Article 59); has legal backing to collect information for the national accounts (Article 45 (1)); and has to promote the strict confidentiality of information provided (Article 37). Further, Article 26 of the Constitution grants INEGI technical and operating autonomy. Resources are adequate at the INEGI. No regular consultation with users is established, but a portal on the INEGI website exists as a communication channel. INEGI firmly adheres to the principle of objectivity in the collection, processing, and dissemination of statistics. It demonstrates professionalism, is transparent in its policies and practices, and provides guidelines to their staff on ethical conduct. INEGI’s autonomy guarantees that no government authority has access to its statistics before they are officially released.

  • The responsibility for compiling macroeconomic statistics by the Bank of Mexico is broadly stated in Article 62 Section I of the Bank of Mexico Law (1994) that indicates that the BM, in coordination with the other competent authorities, may prepare, compile, and publish economic and financial statistics, as well as operate information systems based on these statistics, and collect the necessary data for these purposes. While the BM has a long-standing and unchallenged tradition of compiling and disseminating statistics as a public service, the BM is not empowered by the law to require the reporting of information by the nonfinancial private sector (except for firms involved in the business of personal money transfers). Resources dedicated to the compilation and dissemination of statistics are adequate and high ethical standards are set. The BM does not conduct regular meetings with outside users, but has well-established procedures to monitor data quality.

  • The Federal Budget and Fiscal Responsibility and other laws clearly establish that fiscal statistics on the central government and other levels of public sector aggregation are compiled and disseminated by the SHCP, while INEGI is responsible for compiling and disseminating fiscal statistics on the operations of state and municipalities (local) governments. Confidentiality of data is protected, and statisticians are free of political influence in the choice of the most appropriate data sources and methods for compiling fiscal statistics. The SHCP is fully aware that quality is the key for maintaining public confidence in fiscal statistics. The laws, regulations, methodologies, and manuals for classifying expenditure that govern compilation and dissemination of fiscal statistics are available to the public on the SHCP’s website. Resources are adequate for current tasks. Fiscal statistics are released simultaneously to the general public through the SHCP’s website.

8. The methodological soundness of the statistics varies across dataset. The national accounts generally follow the conceptual advice in the System of National Accounts, 1993 (1993 SNA), although most government transactions on a quarterly frequency are on a cash instead of on an accrual basis. The methodological foundations of monetary statistics are generally sound and reflect significant improvement since 2002. However, the definition of broad monetary aggregates is not in line with key principles of the Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual and the recording of financial derivative and repurchase transactions are overstating the aggregated other depository corporations (ODC) balance sheet.

9. In BOP, data are compiled using a mix of methodological standards from the fourth and fifth editions of the Balance of Payments Manual. Some services are classified as income, both current and capital transfers are recorded as current; and official reserve assets are included within portfolio and other investment accounts in the International Investment Position (IIP), although separately identified. Branches of Mexican banks abroad are classified as residents and nonfinancial private debt is classified by place of issue of the liabilities not on the residence criterion. Cross-country comparability of data is hindered by the use of national classifications and presentations.

10. The compilation and dissemination of GFS follows national concepts and definitions, which are similar to the recommendations in A Manual on Government Finance Statistics, 1986 (GFSM 1986). The classification of revenue, expenditure, financing is in accordance with national criteria, broadly similar to those recommended in the GFSM 1986, but with major presentation differences, including presentation on a modified cash basis. Debt is valued at face value, and the classification of financing and debt as domestic or foreign is classified by place of issue of the liabilities not on the residence criterion. The same financing and debt data are used in the balance of payments and IIP. Fiscal statistics for general government are not compiled regularly, but can be provided on request. The authorities have no plan to migrate to the Government Finance Statistics Manual, 2001 (GFSM2001) but the intent to implement new consistent accounting standards for all levels of government that follow international standards, including accrual accounting, and to introduce a modern information system, should provide the information necessary to compile GFS according to the GFSM 2001.

11. Accuracy and reliability of data are generally adequate and have improved since 2002. In the national accounts, source data and statistical techniques are sound and most statistical outputs sufficiently portray reality. A broad range of source data are available, with economic censuses every five years and a vast program of monthly and annual surveys. For most surveys, scientific sampling techniques are used. However, changes in inventories data are obtained as residuals—despite the availability of annual data in manufacturing and domestic trade surveys that is not incorporated in national accounts (indicating a need for strengthening internal coordination), so there is no independent verification between the production and expenditure measures of GDP. Also, there are some statistical techniques that are not fully in line with international best practice: the wide use of the single indicator method to estimate GDP, rather than the double deflation approach recommended by international standards; the use of fixed intermediate consumption coefficients at current prices in quarterly GDP, rather than the international best practice of using current price data from surveys or, the second best practice, of inflating constant price data by price indices; and the use of the average benchmark-to-indicator ratio (BI) of the previous year for aligning quarterly estimates to annual data, instead of the BI of the fourth quarter of the previous year, as international standards recommend. The latter two statistical techniques are causing a step problem in the estimates of the first quarter. Taxes and subsidies on products at constant prices are estimated by applying the GDP growth rate; a deviation from best practice.

12. The information necessary for compiling consolidated GFS data for the various levels of government is available in a timely way, except notably for state and local governments (and thereby general government). In this context, there is a lack of an advance release calendar for state and local government data. The accuracy and reliability of the monetary statistics are supported by comprehensive, high quality source data. The coverage of nonbank other depository corporations (ODC) has improved since 2002, but time delays in the submission of such data and the processing of the reports impedes timely dissemination of the ODC survey. The source data for BOP statistics come from comprehensive data collection programs. However, source data gaps are emerging due to the incomplete coverage of the nonfinancial private sector, in both the current and financial accounts, particularly services, 4 and financial transactions, including trade credits and financial derivatives.

13. While the serviceability of data has improved in some aspects since 2002, improvements are still needed in two areas. First, there is a pressing need to improve the consistency across datasets, not least because the reconciliation of data does not appear to be done on a regular basis. Second, there is a general need to provide more information to users on revisions, a clear conclusion supported by user consultations. Data are available with adequate periodicity and timeliness, and sometimes exceed, SDDS requirements, with the notable exception of the timeliness of general government operations. Beyond the SDDS specifications, the timeliness of the annual integrated economic accounts by institutional sector is very late and INEGI has recognized the need for improvement.

14. Accessibility of the data is better than in 2002. Most notably there has been a marked improvement in the assistance to users in a timely manner. But for national accounts, monetary statistics and BOP there is a need to improve the availability of metadata. Also, while the mission found that the websites of the agencies were generally informative, some users raised concerns about their user friendlessness. INEGI are encouraged to provide more detail on their annual national accounts estimates.

15. Section II provides a summary assessment by agency and dataset based on a four-part scale. This is followed by staff recommendations in Section III. Practices compared to the SDDS are summarized in Appendix I. The authorities’ response to this report and a volume of detailed assessments are presented in separate documents.

II. Assessment by Agency and Dataset

16. Assessment of the quality of four macroeconomic datasets—national accounts, government finance, monetary, and balance of payments statistics—were conducted using the DQAF, July 2003. In this section, the results are presented at the level of the DQAF elements and using a four-point rating scale (Table 1). Assessments of the prerequisites of data quality and the assurances of integrity (Dimensions “0” and “1” of the DQAF) are presented in Tables 2ac. For each dataset, the assessment of methodological soundness, accuracy and reliability, serviceability, and accessibility (Dimensions “2” to “5” of the DQAF) are shown in Tables 3a–f.

Table 2a.

Mexico Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 0 and 1—National Institute of Statistics and Geography

article image
Table 2b.

Mexico Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 0 and 1—Bank of Mexico

article image
Table 2c.

Mexico Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 0 and 1—Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit

article image
Table 3a.

Mexico Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 2 to 5—National Accounts

article image
Table 3b.

Mexico Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 2 to 5—Government Finance Statistics

article image
Table 3c.

Mexico Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 2 to 5—Monetary Statistics

article image
Table 3d.

Mexico Assessment of Data Quality—Dimensions 2 to 5—Balance of Payments Statistics

article image

III. Staff’s Recommendations

17. Based on the review of Mexico’s statistical practices, discussions with the data producing agencies, and responses from data users (see Appendix III of the Detailed Assessments volume), the mission has developed a set of recommendations. They are designed to increase further Mexico’s adherence to internationally accepted statistical practices and would, in the mission’s view, enhance the analytical usefulness of Mexico’s statistics. Some additional technical suggestions are included in the Detailed Assessments volume.

Cross-cutting recommendations

  • Enhance cross-domain cooperation within and among statistical agencies to support both consistent methodological treatments and proactive responses to emerging issues.

  • Conduct regular reconciliation exercises to verify consistency among the macroeconomic datasets.

  • Strengthen the legal framework with regard to the compilation of balance of payments statistics.

  • Begin an active, systematic process of consulting users on the quality of macroeconomic statistics.

  • Establish procedures for informing users about data revision studies.

  • Consider creating a centralized portal, a “one-stop shop” for macroeconomic statistics, and metadata, in Mexico to assist users.

National accounts

  • Update the business register (directory) continuously and use it also to select samples of small enterprises for expanding the population coverage in the economic surveys.

  • Directly estimate changes in inventories and compile an expenditure measure of GDP independent of the production measure. Consider the use of chain indices for calculating volume measures

  • Estimate preliminary (before benchmarking to annual results) quarterly intermediate consumption at current prices by inflating data at constant prices by a composite weighted price index of the corresponding producer price and consumer price items, and to the extent of possible, also consider price indices of imported raw materials.

  • Conduct an integrated enterprise/establishment survey for a representative sample of enterprises by economic activity that collects data on production, inputs, fixed capital formation, inventories, income statement, and balance sheet in order to reduce the discrepancies between the estimates by economic activity and by institutional sector for the non-financial corporation sector.

  • Improve the benchmarking technique of quarterly and annual data by applying the BI ratio of the fourth quarter of the previous year to estimate the quarters of the following year until the annual data for that year are available.

  • Further investigate the recording of actual rents and private education services in the monthly survey.

  • Study the compilation of a supply and use table of illegal goods including illegal trade (contraband).

  • Explain in more detail the compilation methods and the causes of routine and major revisions to the NA data in INEGI’s national accounts publications.

  • Incorporate annual agricultural work-in-progress in the production and assets boundary, given the importance of agriculture activities in the Mexican economy.

  • Increase the level of detail of disseminated annual data at four digits of the NAICS, or at least at three digits.

Government finance statistics

  • Adopt the GFSM 2001 methodology for the compilation of fiscal statistics, and compile and disseminate data for general government on a regular basis.

  • Develop the new government information system such that government finance statistics can be compiled automatically from budgetary accounts in accordance with international methodology.

  • Improve the timeliness of source data for state and local government with a view to complying with SDDS requirements on the timeliness of statistics on general government operations.

  • Use the residency criterion to classify financing and debt as domestic or foreign.

  • Undertake regular reconciliation of data across macroeconomic datasets.

  • Make public prior access to fiscal statistics by Congress.

Monetary statistics

  • Review the definition of monetary aggregates with the purpose of improving their international comparability. (Financial wealth aggregates are useful and should continue to be compiled separately.)

  • Revise the treatment of financial derivatives and repurchase agreements to avoid overstating the aggregated balance sheet of the ODC.

  • Collaborate with the CNBV to improve timeliness in the submission by and processing of nonbank ODC data, which will allow for a more timely dissemination of the ODC survey.

  • Prepare and disseminate detailed documentation on the methodology used for compiling monetary statistics.

Balance of payments statistics

  • Apply BPM5 criteria when classifying and disseminating the breakdown of income, financial services, financial derivatives, and official reserves assets.

  • Apply the residency criteria to foreign branches of resident banks and nonfinancial private debt in the compilation of the balance of payments and International investment position.

  • Improve the coverage of services and financial account transactions of the non-financial private sector.

  • Develop a transition plan to BPM6.

  • To the extent possible, record external public and private debt on an accrual basis in the balance of payments, use market values, and reconcile IIP data on debt liabilities with the total external debt statistics.

  • Compile and disseminate a quarterly IIP.

  • Prepare and disseminate detailed documentation on the methodology used for compiling BOP statistics.

Appendix I

Mexico: Practices Compared to the SDDS Coverage, Periodicity, and Timeliness of Data

article image
article image
Periodicity and timeliness: (D) daily; (W) weekly or with a lag of ## week(s) from the reference date; (WD) working days, or business days; (M) monthly or with a lag of ## month(s); (NLT) not later than; (Q) quarterly or with a lag of ## quarter(s); (A) annually; (SA) semiannual; 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


At the time of the mission, the methodology for both the consumer price and producer price indices are in the process of being updated. When the new indices is is published, expected in early 2011, the intention is for a data ROSC reassessment for these two indices to be undertaken. Under the 2008 Law of the National System of Information on Statistics and Geography (LSNIEG), responsibility for prices is to be transferred from BM to INEGI by July 2011.


For the subsystem of economic information, the specialist committees comprise representatives of the INEGI, SHCP, BM, the Ministry of Economy, and the relevant ministries and public institutions by area (macroeconomic information, energy, tourism, agriculture, science and technology, and employment).


The mission understands that the datasets of national interest include national accounts, price statistics, government finance, monetary, and balance of payments statistics.


There is inter-agency work on-going to improve the coverage of services.