Greek GDP stats gaps prompt sus­pen­sion of flash data

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Greece’s sta­tis­tics ser­vice EL­STAT has sus­pended un­til fur­ther no­tice the re­lease of flash quar­terly es­ti­mates on the coun­try’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct be­cause of di­ver­gences with pro­vi­sional es­ti­mates, an of­fi­cial at the sta­tis­tics ser­vice said yes­ter­day.

The move means that flash data will not be is­sued on Aug. 14. Na­tion­wide quar­terly GDP data will be re­leased on Sept. 1, tak­ing into ac­count more in­for­ma­tion than the early in­di­ca­tor of the flash es­ti­mate. That quar­terly fig­ure, known as pro­vi­sional data, can also be sub­ject to re­vi­sions over time. The qual­ity of Greek sta­tis­ti­cal data is un­der con­stant scru­tiny by Brus­sels since the coun­try plunged into cri­sis in 2010, re­quir­ing to date three in­ter­na­tional bailouts to stave off bank­ruptcy.

Dis­crep­an­cies in the way the bud­get deficit was cal­cu­lated be­fore 2010 - which an­gry eu­ro­zone part­ners say con­cealed the ex­tent of the deficit - helped trig­ger the fi­nan­cial cri­sis that en­gulfed Greece and the eu­ro­zone. A se­nior EL­STAT of­fi­cial told Reuters the sus­pen­sion of the flash data was nec­es­sary be­cause flash data was is­sued on the ba­sis of in­com­plete in­for­ma­tion, which sub­se­quently needed re­vi­sions when more data came in.

“We will prob­a­bly not pub­lish flash es­ti­mates for the next com­ing quar­ters af­ter re­cent di­ver­gences,” the EL­STAT of­fi­cial said. There have been con­sid­er­able dif­fer­ences in the past two quar­ters be­tween flash data, is­sued 45 days af­ter the lapse of the ref­er­ence pe­riod, and pro­vi­sional data that fol­lows and is re­leased within a 60 day pe­riod.

On June 2, EL­STAT up­wardly re­vised its first-quar­ter GDP es­ti­mate to an ex­pan­sion of 0.4 per­cent quar­ter-on-quar­ter on a pro­vi­sional ba­sis; flash data re­leased 15 days ear­lier had es­ti­mated the econ­omy had con­tracted by 0.1 per­cent.

Sim­i­larly in March, EL­STAT said Greece’s econ­omy shrank 1.2 per­cent in the last quar­ter of 2016, a con­sid­er­able re­vi­sion from a 0.4 per­cent crimp it gave a fort­night ear­lier.

“We don’t have all the nec­es­sary data for the flash es­ti­mates on time. We just have data only for two months of the quar­ter on em­ploy­ment and not the fi­nal data for the cur­rent ac­count bal­ance,” the of­fi­cial said. “We want to ex­plore the avail­abil­ity of the nec­es­sary data sources and im­prove the con­sis­tency of the flash es­ti­mates.”

Many sta­tis­tics ser­vices in the eu­ro­zone an­nounce their flash es­ti­mates on GDP 45 days af­ter the end of the pre­vi­ous quar­ter and pro­vi­sional es­ti­mates 60 days later.

Ire­land, Lux­em­bourg and Swe­den do not is­sue flash data. The re­lease of flash es­ti­mates is not manda­tory un­der Euro­pean leg­is­la­tion. The of­fi­cial said that Euro­stat has been in­formed on the mat­ter.—Reuters

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