British statisticians deal with conflicting data about recovery from the pandemic


The British statistical agency will face communication difficulties this week as it releases two sets of official data on the size of the economy, which paint a conflicting picture of the recovery from the coronavirus.

The problem will arise when the National Bureau of Statistics releases quarterly and monthly GDP data on Thursday. Quarterly data will show that the UK economy is still some distance from its pre-pandemic size, while monthly data may show that the economy is only a little short of this benchmark.

This discrepancy occurs because the National Bureau of Statistics of the United Kingdom uses different techniques to measure GDP compared to quarterly, and these estimates are currently far apart, even if they try to measure the same things.

Economists say this difference will cause difficulties for statistical agencies, the Office of Budget Responsibility and the Bank of England.

Liz Martens, a British economist at HSBC, said: “The economic situation relative to the pre-pandemic level is the key-this is an easy-to-understand and easy-to-understand indicator that tells us how far the economy has fallen and how far it has recovered. And the extent of the recovery. Compared with other countries.

“For these questions, statistics basically provide us with two completely different answers. This has an impact on policy makers: it affects OBR’s forecast of borrowing and the Bank of England’s decision on whether to raise interest rates.”

The National Bureau of Statistics is aware of this problem. When contacted by the Financial Times, officials said that when monthly data shows that the British economy has recovered the output lost during the pandemic, they will judge that the economy has recovered from Covid-19. To recover.

If the data is strong in September, this moment may happen on Thursday as soon as possible, but it is more likely to happen a month later.

Both dates are much earlier than the Bank of England’s forecast that economic output will not recover lost output until the first quarter of next year, because the central bank uses quarterly data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The quarterly data from April to June this year showed that GDP was 3.3% lower than the level in the fourth quarter of 2019. The same comparison using monthly data shows only a 2.3% difference.

The latest monthly GDP data shows that the GDP in August this year was only 0.8% lower than in February 2020 before the pandemic.

Economists expect another increase of 0.4% in September, making the latest monthly data only 0.4% lower than the pre-pandemic level, and is expected to close the gap in October or November.

If economists are right, monthly data will show that the third quarter GDP average is 0.9% lower than the fourth quarter of 2019, while official quarterly data may show a 1.8% difference. The Bank of England’s gap will only end in early 2022.

This difference occurs because the monthly figures are based on attempts to sum the output of each industry, and compared with other methods of calculating GDP (including measuring economic expenditure or income), the analysis gives Gave stronger instructions.



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