Focuses statistics


Experience shows that the more critical approach requires not only an analysis of the financial statements of companies, but also the analysis of official statistics provided by official statistical agencies. How much is hidden pitfalls, and how creative (not templates) should be the approach in the analysis of macroeconomic trends, I try to show the example of the United States.

Either up, or down ...

In July, the U.S. revised GDP data for the past three years. Numbers were very, very entertaining.

Revisions 1999/2000,. is negligible, but in 2001 it came out very serious discrepancy. In absolute terms, the difference between the old and new value of the GDP in 2001 was $ 116.6 billion (in 1996 dollars). To realize the scale, it suffices to say that this is more than a third of Russia's GDP.

In relation to the new value of GDP ($ 9.215 trillion. - In dollars of 1996) is 1.3%. And changed the dynamics of the GDP. If the old figures recorded a decline over the same quarter, the new show a decline in the absolute volume of GDP from I to III quarter of last year, inclusive.

Changes in the main components of GDP

Let's see how much the major components of GDP. So, first, private consumption (69.2% of the GDP in 2001) was overstated by approximately $ 73 billion, or 1.1% of the new value of this indicator.

Private investment (17.7% of GDP by 2001) were overstated by $ 55.1 billion, or 3.4%. Strictly speaking, this component has been distorted by the most. And here, as it turned out, the recession was over six (!) Quarters, beginning with IV quarter 2000 In the II quarter of 2002, the fall has stopped, but the growth of the previous quarter was only 0.3% (one can speak of a zero growth). In fact, reduction of investment, which, in fact, is the main cause of the current crisis in the U.S. economy (overinvestment during the boom hi-tec) began in 2000, although on the basis of old data, I thought that the fall in investment activity started later - in the II quarter of 2001.

Thus, the statistics do not simply overstated / understated key indicators, but, most worryingly, gave the wrong impression about the tendencies (diagnose growth instead of recession).

I do not support the position that the U.S. government deliberately manipulated by the official statistics, and thus has an impact on investor sentiment, on which the U.S. economy depends very much indeed. I'm not familiar with the statistical system of the U.S. from the inside and I do not know if there is the possibility of intentionally misrepresent anything.

But, in fairness, it should be noted that this view has a right to exist, because the mass delusion of investors on the basis of this information could have a significant impact on the U.S. financial markets and the U.S. economy.

Let us remember the speech by Alan Greenspan during the crisis. Almost always his main thesis - <productivity grows rapidly, and therefore the foundation of the economy is strong, and the recession is not going to be long>. Official statistics confirm this thesis. However, the revision of GDP data means, first of all, the revision of data on performance, which may be significantly lower than originally claimed. And this means that the <strong foundation of the U.S. economy> to some extent a myth.