Appendix I

Bibliography

  • Communiqué of the Interim Committee of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund, Press Release No. 95/27, April 26, 1995.

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  • Statistical Policy of the Fund (SM/95/115, May 18, 1995) and Evolution of the Statistical Activities of the Fund (SM/95/113, May 25, 1995) were discussed in Executive Board Meeting 95/56 on June 7, 1995 and the Acting Chairman’s Summing Up was issued as BUFF/95/55.

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  • Standards for the Provision of Economic and Financial Data to the Public (SM/95/175, July 17, 1995) was discussed in Executive Board Meeting 95/71 on July 26, 1995 and the Chairman’s Summing Up was issued as BUFF/95/84.

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  • Data Provision to the Fund for Surveillance - Preliminary Review of Experience (SM/95/180, July 21, 1995) was discussed in Executive Board Meeting 95/71 on July 26, 1995.

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  • Provision of Information to the Fund for Surveillance - Further Considerations and Draft Report to the Interim Committee (SM/95/229, September 7, 1995) and Standards for the Provision of Economic and Financial Data to the Public - Draft Report to the Interim Committee and Further Considerations (SM/95/230, September 7, 1995), together with an initial draft and further revisions of a combined report to the Interim Committee, were discussed in several subsequent meetings of the Executive Board.

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  • Fund Policies - Data Provision to the Fund for Surveillance and Standards to Guide Members in the Publication of Data (SM/95/252, Revision 2, September 27, 1995, also issued as ICMS/Doc/45/95/16, September 29, 1995), contained the final report to the Interim Committee.

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  • Communiqué of the Interim Committee of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund, Press Release No. 95/51, October 8, 1995.

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  • Development of Standards for Dissemination of Economic and Financial Information to the Public by Member Countries (SM/95/321, December 29, 1995)

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  • Concluding Remarks by the Acting Chairman: Development of Standards for Dissemination of Economic and Financial Statistics to the Public by Member Countries. Executive Board Informal Session 96/2 - January 2U, 1996, BUFF/96/6, January 30, 1996, revised February 2, 1996.

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  • Standards for the Dissemination by Countries of Economic and Financial Statistics: a Discussion Draft, prepared by a staff team of the International Monetary Fund, February 1996.

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Appendix II

Data Dissemination Questionnaire, February 1996

Questions for Members Countries’ Consideration

This questionnaire seeks reactions to various issues raised in the discussion draft (Attachment I). It requests responses to a list of questions, numbered consecutively, and the completion of two tables. The latter may be completed and returned or may be answered in a letter or note. Because the questions are being asked of a range of interested parties, not all questions will be of equal relevance to all correspondents.

I. Content of the standards

Box 1 of the discussion draft summarizes the four dimensions of the standards and the elements within those dimensions for the more demanding standard. The elements of three of the four dimensions-those of access to the data, integrity of the data, and quality of the data-are expected to be the same for the general and the more demanding standards. Sections III. 2-4 of the discussion draft elaborate on the intent and meaning of these three dimensions. Specifications for the remaining dimension, which relates to coverage, periodicity, and timeliness, will be different for the more demanding standard and for the general standard. Table 1 of the discussion draft shows the specifications for coverage, periodicity, and timeliness proposed for the more demanding standard. These specifications are described in Section III.1 of the discussion draft.

a. Access, integrity, and quality

1. Setting aside for the moment die coverage, periodicity, and timeliness dimension, Table Q-1 (for your convenience, at the end of the questionnaire) seeks information about practices in your country with respect to the various elements of the dimensions relating to access, integrity, and quality. It suggests some questions that may be relevant. For example, does your agency follow the suggested practice (e.g., disseminate an advance release calendar) and, if “yes”, how often and how far in advance of release is the calendar released or, if “no,” what practices does it follow (e.g., how do data users become aware that data are available)? Please provide as many separate responses as needed to cover practices in your country (e.g., the real sector, the fiscal sector, the financial sector, and the external sector). Please also comment on the proposed elements and, where applicable, on the feasibility of implementing them in your country. For example, are the proxies for quality of statistics reasonable and adequate?

Table Q-1.

Elements for Access, Integrity, and Quality 1/

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As indicated in question 1, please provide separate responses as needed to cover practices in your country.

2. Are there aspects of these elements for which you would find it particularly useful for the manual (referred to in Section II of the discussion draft), and supporting materials being prepared by the Fund staff, to provide examples or other guidance and clarification?

b. Coverage, periodicity, and timeliness

Table 1 of the discussion draft shows the specifications for coverage, periodicity, and timeliness proposed for the more demanding standard. Some flexibility is built in by identifying some categories and components for dissemination on an “as relevant” basis and by including a category far forward looking indicators as “encouraged” but not prescribed.

3. Please provide information on your country’s practices with respect to the data categories in Table Q-2 (for your convenience, at the end of die questionnaire), which reproduces those in Table 1 of the discussion draft. Please make recommendations about die coverage, periodicity, and timeliness for the general standard and for the more demanding standard. 1/

Table Q-2.

Coverage, Periodicity, and Timeliness

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Periodicity and timeliness: Daily (“0”); weekly or with lapse of no more than one week (“U”) after the reference data or close of the reference week; monthly or with lapse of no more than one month (“M”); quarterly or with lapse of no more than one quarter (“Q”); annual (“A”).

4. For the general standard, should additional flexibility be introduced? For example, should additional categories or components be indicated as “encouraged” rather than prescribed? If “yes,” please indicate which categories/components should be so indicated and die reasons.

5. For the general standard, are there additional data categories or components that should be included? For example, are mere indicators with narrower coverage mat would complement die comprehensive statistical frameworks for die real, fiscal, financial, and external sectors by providing more frequent or more timely (but still useful) information?

6. Are there aspects of the definitions of the data categories and components for which you would find it particularly useful for die manual (see Section II of die discussion paper), and supporting materials being prepared by die Fund staff, to provide guidance and clarification?

II. Observing the general standard

The proposed approach taken for carrying through on the general standard is that public identification by the IMF of members that observe the standard is not considered appropriate at this stage. Instead, the IMF would encourage members to work toward the general standard and would review progress toward attaining that standard with each member in the course of its regular Article TV consultations. In coming to this view it was noted that, except for its added emphasis on providing ready and equal access to data for all, the general standard can be viewed as making more concrete and specific the goal toward which the Fund has been working with all its members, through the delivery of technical assistance, training in statistical methodologies, and regular staff work. Such work with members is already being undertaken to improve the availability of data for surveillance, both for policy discussions at the time of consultations and for monitoring developments on a continuous basis between consultations. The process of upgrading statistical systems and improving the flow of statistics-and, accordingly, the ability of members to observe the general standard-would take time and require cooperation among country authorities, other international organizations, and the Fund staff.

7. Are there additional considerations about this approach that should be taken into account? With respect to technical assistance, which plays a key role in the cooperative process between the IMF and its members in improving statistics, in which areas would you find such assistance most useful?

III. The electronic bulletin board

An electronic bulletin board (EBB) is proposed as the cornerstone in the implementation of the more demanding standard. It would identify publicly the member countries that subscribe to that standard and would provide access to important information about country data—the metadata— that would be useful in its own right and that would facilitate monitoring of the observance of that standard by market participants and others. It has been proposed that the EBB be on the Internet, at a World Wide Web (WWW) site. A prototype EBB page for the metadata to be provided by countries subscribing to the more demanding standard is shown in the attached condensed version of the discussion draft.

8. What considerations should the IMF have in mind when working out the operational aspects of the EBB? With a WWW site, it is technically feasible to monitor the number but not the duration of accesses to the EBB. What modalities might be used to recover the costs of the EBB service?

9. How can the prototype page be improved as a source of information to the public and to facilitate the monitoring of the observance of the more demanding standard?

IV. Electronic access to data

The Fund staff is exploring various approaches by which country data could be associated electronically with the metadata on the EBB. One part of that exploration is to learn more of the practices and experiences of countries providing electronic access to their data.

10. Are key data produced by the central bank, the ministry of finance, and the national statistical office available electronically? If “yes,” in what formats are they available (for example, on diskette, on-line within the agency in question, on-line on a system maintained by another agency such as the Foreign Ministry, or through a commercial vendor such as Reuters)?

11. In what formats are data available electronically? For example, are they available in Lotus, Excel, or as tab-delineated ASCII files? Are data available as static tables that are updated periodically, or is on-line access available?

12. If data are available on-line, responses to the questions below will provide useful background information for the exploration by Fund staff of approaches to associating country data with metadata. In addition, please send copies of any promotional or descriptive information about the electronic access that statistical agencies in your country provide.

Objectives. What were your principal objectives in considering electronic dissemination? Were you hoping to reach a particular group of users? If “yes,” whjch group? Was enhanced/lost revenue a consideration?

Development time. When did you begin planning for electronic dissemination and when was the project completed? Did the actual development time differ substantially from the original plan?

Alternatives approaches. What electronic dissemination media did you consider (e.g., Internet, local dedicated server)? What were the considerations that determined your final decision (e.g., ease of development and maintenance, ease of user access, system security, method used by others in country, method used by others internationally)?

Development obstacles. What were the major obstacles encountered in developing your system (e.g., development cost, hardware cost, software/systems costs, maintenance and user support, locally available expertise)?

Usage. Do you monitor and analyze the number of accesses to your system? Do you have a means of monitoring who is accessing the system? If “yes,” who are the major users of your system?

Cost recovery. How do statistical agencies in your country recoup the costs of providing data electronically?

Operation and Future Development. What are the day-to-day issues and major challenges you face in operating the system? Are there enhancements to the system that you are considering?

Location. What is the address at which the data can be accessed?

Appendix III

Cover Page for the Discussion Draft

Standards for the Dissemination by Countries of Economic and Financial Statistics

A Discussion Draft

This paper was prepared by a staff team of the International Monetary Fund based on discussions and correspondence with IMF member countries. Comments on the paper are welcome as soon as possible but no later than March 22, 1996.

Copies of this discussion draft are available on Internet or by writing or calling

    Internet access: gopher://gopher.imf.org

    Public Affairs Division

    International Monetary Fund

    700 19th Street N.W., Room 12-510

    Washington, D.C. 20431, USA

       Telephone:   (202) 623 7682

       Telefax:         (202) 623 6278

    Press copies: Telephone (202) 623-7100

Comments on the discussion draft may be sent via Internet or by writing

    Internet address: ddsi@imf.org

    Data Dissemination Standards Initiative

    Statistics Department

    International Monetary Fund

    700 19th Street N.W.

    Washington, D.C. 20431, USA

    Telefax: (202) 623 6460

International Monetary Fund Washington, D.C.

Appendix IV

Prototype Summary of Observance of Coverage, Periodicity, and Timeliness

Check marks (✓) indicate the specifications met by Country Yyyyyy. For specifications in which Country Yyyyy has chosen to make use of the standard’s flexibility options (described below), its practices are indicated.

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During the transition period, Country Yyyyy is implementing a plan to disseminate quarterly national accounts within one quarter of the end of the reference quarter.

Flexibility: A country may avail itself of the following options:

  • Coverage: Some categories/components are marked “as relevant,” and if one or more of them is not relevant to a member’s economy, it may so indicate.

  • Periodicity and timeliness:

  • (1) For the national accounts and balance of payments, although the quarterly specification for periodicity must be met, timeliness may be “less” than prescribed if the production index/indices and international reserve and merchandise trade, respectively, are disseminated with the periodicity and timeliness for the tracking category.

  • (2) For any other two prescribed data categories or major components except international reserves, periodicity and/or timelessness may be “less” than prescribed.

Appendix V

Prototype Metadata Page

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Note: Underlining indicates items to which additional information may be hyperlinked.
1

The Board papers, communiques, and summings up over the past year of work on the standards are listed in Appendix I.

1

For the national accounts, production index/indices is designated as the tracking category. For the balance of payments, international reserves and merchandise trade are both designated as tracking categories.

1

The length of time by which representative countries “miss” the timeliness specifications for quarterly national accounts and balance of payments has usually been in the range of two to four months for GDP and somewhat more for full balance of payments accounts. The proposal does not include an upper limit on the length of time by which a country may “miss” because this range is relatively narrow and because setting an arbitrary upper limit would add complexity to the standard.

1

It was agreed that, during the transition period, countries would be removed from the DSBB only in very exceptional cases involving egregious nonobservance of the standard. The use of “egregious” was meant to convey that, because both subscribers and the Fund would be accumulating experience over the transition period, subscribers would be given the benefit of the doubt before the serious step of removal from the DSBB would be undertaken. The process would involve a staff paper for Board decision and could draw on the advice of a panel of internationally recognized statistical experts.

1

The staff proposes a first review focusing on implementation of the special data dissemination standard in the second half of 1997. A second review, in the second half of 1998 and thus before the end of the transition period, would be more comprehensive. Thereafter, reviews are proposed as needed to take into account, e.g., additional work on international statistical guidelines and changes in the technology of data dissemination.

1

In general, members are encouraged to apply the practices prescribed in the standard to data categories not covered by the standard when public interest warrants.

1

The size of past revisions, which is often in the list of aspects of quality, is included in an element on integrity, drawing on its role as an indicator of the transparency of conditions under which data are produced.

1

As noted in die covering letter, comments on the more demanding standard are needed as soon as possible but no later than March 22, 1996.

Standards for the Dissemination of Economic and Financial Statistics to the Public by Member Countries - Progress Report and Implementation of the Special Data Dissemination Standard
Author: International Monetary Fund