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Statistics

These are some prime sources of economic statistics;

  • Google "IMF International financial statistics yearbook" to find a compilation of statistics by country.

And journals of the same;

Accuracy

I have huge concerns about the accuracy of financial data. Firstly naming conventions vary between countries i.e. the money supply M0 to M10 are not the same things from one country to another.

Differences in IMF Data: Incidence and Implications

Anthony Pellechio and John Cady

Full Text of this Article (PDF 164K)

Abstract: Data published in IMF country reports and International Financial Statistics (IFS) may differ for seemingly identical variables, and at times users may be unaware of the reasons underlying such differences and may lack the information needed to permit reconciliation. This paper presents a study of the consistency of annual data on core statistical indicators presented in the IFS and a sample of country reports. The paper finds a significant incidence of apparent discrepancies for similarly defined variables. It discusses the reasons for differences and examines the implications for research using an example from the debt sustainability literature. [JEL C10, C82]


These were from the IMF website

http://www.imfstatistics.org/imf/IFSMoney.htm


"Additional Data Sources"

European Central Bank

Eurostat

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

 

United Nations

The World Bank

Bank for International Settlements

About OECD

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development www.oecd.org provides a database portal to a sample of their database, even the sample is huge! 

© OECD, have a selection of interesting statistics to look at and buy. The text below is an exert from the information on the database portal under the theme "General Statistics/The crisis and beyond/SPECIAL FOCUS" and gives an interesting view on the current financial situation.

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“Financial genius is before the fall” - John Kenneth Galbraith, “A Short History of Financial Euphoria”

© OECD 2010

The world economy has gone through its worst crisis since World War II, and is today on the path of a slow recovery. Even if the crisis did not lead – to paraphrase a pop hit of a few years ago – to the “end of the world as we know it”, there is at least agreement that it was more than just one of those turbulences that economies occasionally experience – and is often compared in its severity to the 1929 crisis that led to the Great Depression. The crisis followed a period of good economic performance and sound fundamentals, at least when judged by the standards used by most economists (solid GDP growth, low inflation and low unemployment). However, this environment, in conjunction with a rather lax regulatory framework, also led to a large expansion of credit and to the development of new financial products and financing vehicles. The full nature of some of the recent financial innovations may not have been clear even to many regulators and financial market experts, except some insiders. But this did not seem to matter too much as long as these innovations continued to generate huge profits for financial intermediaries and for investors at large. The warnings of risk managers and whistleblowers about the build-up of risks were too often ignored, and words of caution that were periodically voiced by some institutions and individual commentators were quickly dismissed after yet another market rally.

And then the crisis came, expanding from the 2007 subprime turmoil to a global crisis. The ensuing fall in GDP was the strongest on record since the establishment of the OECD, but the consequences of the crisis go well beyond lower economic activity. Financial institutions and investors suffered huge capital losses. Many people lost their jobs, houses and pensions, while others have lost their trust in the capacity of institutions to regulate markets for the public good. The rescue packages directed towards distressed financial institutions put in place by governments around the world may have returned financial markets to a state of normal functioning, but at the price of increases in public debt that many countries had never experienced in periods of peace and of higher taxes and lower public spending in the years to come. The implications of the crisis are also reaching beyond the regulatory framework for financial institutions, raising questions about the balance between public and private responsibilities more generally, and between economic performance and other dimensions by which to assess the performance of individual countries. Finally, the crisis questions the capacity of economists to understand the functioning of complex economic systems, the relevance of theoretical models as well as the adequacy of existing statistical tools to identify structural weaknesses, to value assets, and to monitor performance.

A fully-shared diagnosis of the nature of the crisis is not yet available. Yet, at least two facts are uncontroversial. The first is that the crisis started at the very centre of the developed world, the United States, rather than at its periphery, as had been the case of previous crises (Mexico in the early 1980s, Sweden and Japan in the early 1990s, South-East Asia and Russia in the later 1990s and Argentina in the early 2000s). From the United States, financial contagion spread rapidly to other parts of the world and to the real economy, underscoring that, beyond its benefits, globalisation also implies vulnerabilities that national policies are ill-equipped to address. The second is that the crisis had the financial sector as its focal point. This applies in particular to that “shadow” banking sector whose importance had grown exponentially since the late 1990s, beyond the reaches of the regulations and protections that apply to commercial banks. These institutions supported much of their long-term lending by issuing short-term paper, leading to large mismatches in the maturity composition of their assets and liabilities, and by increasing debt relative to own resources. Contagion then followed as credit institutions had created large scale securities based on loans that were then sold to other financial intermediaries.

There are more controversies about the “root causes” that led to the crisis. One of the factors often mentioned is large imbalance in current accounts between countries, which contributed to large capital inflows towards the US financial markets, fuelling debt expansion and asset price inflation. Other factors relate to the policy environment, in particular in the United States, where low interest rates that prevailed since 2001, sustained credit demand. Yet other factors relate to the conditions of households, which – in many parts of the world – accumulated large amounts of debt, especially mortgages, based on expectations of ever-increasing housing prices; this debt was also used to sustain private consumption in a context characterised by stagnant income for most families and by gains concentrated at the top of the income distribution. While it is difficult to assess the relative role of each of these factors, they are likely to have interacted with each other in amplifying the extent of the crisis.

This special chapter of the 2010 Factbook does not aim to provide a full fledged description of the crisis. More modestly, it brings together a range of statistics relevant for the analysis of the crisis, of its build-up and, where data are available, of its aftermath. It provides evidence on some of the causes of the crisis, such as the correction in asset prices, the accumulation of debt and the spread of securitisation, or global imbalances in current account positions; on some of its consequences for economic activity, foreign trade, labour markets, confidence and household income; and on some of the main policy responses to the crisis, in the forms of liquidity injections and expansionary fiscal policies. In doing so, this chapter brings together a range of statistics produced by various parts of the Organisation, some of which have been previously disseminated through other reports, with others prepared specifically for this one. The goal of the chapter is to provide a concise but comprehensive assessment of the crisis and of its consequences. Achieving this goal has required the use of high-frequency data, thereby departing from the annual data used in other chapters of this report and in previous issues of the OECD Factbook.

While this chapter hopefully provides some additional insights, data availability has limited the amount of information provided. Thus the crisis is also an opportunity to assess the adequacy of our statistical infrastructure to monitor relevant developments. In this respect, it should be stressed that our statistical systems continue to have important gaps in terms of coverage (e.g. in terms of balance sheets and asset prices); timeliness (e.g. lags in financial statistics often exceed two years, and are even longer for other domains) and access to micro-data (critical to assess the concentration of specific risks in parts of system and to manage the consequences of the crisis as it unfolds). These limits have implications for policy, as they can lead to a biased assessment. This is especially evident in the current juncture, as swings in financial conditions (where information is available in almost real time) get much more attention than developments in living conditions for ordinary people (where information is available only with long delays). This asymmetry in statistical information may lead politicians to believe that the crisis is over at the very time where its social consequences are more intense.









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