5.3%  2005 GROWTH FORECAST  FACTORED IN REVISED TRADE DATA - NERI

MANILA, August 9, 2005
 (STAR) The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Monday clarified that the 5.3 percent growth projection for 2005 had already incorporated the revised trade balance data, even before last week’s announcement of the revisions by the National Statistics Office (NSO).

Reacting to news articles claiming the economy was doing worse than expected and that it won’t reach its growth targets because of the trade deficit data revision, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Director General Augusto B. Santos said, “NEDA growth projections already factored in these revisions in May this year.”

Last week the NSO announced that the final 2004 trade deficit is US$4,359 million instead of the US$713 million reported earlier resulting from the adoption of a new methodology for computation of imports and receipt of additional export documents that failed to meet previous cut-off dates.

Santos stressed the new methodology is a result of government’s continuing efforts to improve the statistical system to cope with the changing economic environment while remaining consistent with international standards for statistics.

"This is not something new anymore. This is similar to the revision on imports data that NSO made in early 2003," he said.

In projecting the 2005 growth forecasts, the NEDA used the projections of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in May, which ran on the new methodology.

“This means the growth forecasts already incorporated the revisions in the trade data, which is why revisions do not alter NEDA’s projection of 5.3 percent GDP (gross domestic product) growth,” the NEDA chief said.

This new methodology was conceptualized after the government noticed in 2001 that the imports data were understated and took steps to revise.

The methodology was refined until the present when the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) finalized and approved in May 2005 the methodology recommended by an interagency committee on trade statistics.

The BSP used this new methodology to estimate the data for its Balance of Payments tables: exports, imports, the trade balance, and the current account.

The interagency committee is composed of the BSP, the NEDA, the Department of Trade and Industry, the NSCB, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, and the Bureau of Customs.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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