IMF Workshop Outlines Japanese-Funded Project to Help Asia and Pacific Countries Produce Internationally Comparable National Accounts and Price Statistics

Press Release No.11/118
April 7, 2011

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) workshop in Bangkok has outlined detailed work plans for a multi-year project that aims to bring national accounts and price statistics of 10 Asia and Pacific countries up to international standards. The April 5-7 workshop, which brought together statisticians and economists from all the countries concerned, also identified technical assistance to be provided by the IMF as part of the initiative. Funding for this project is provided by the Government of Japan through the Japan Account administered by the IMF.

During the workshop, country representatives from Bhutan, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam discussed and defined project objectives and prepared a detailed work plan to guide each country. IMF staff shared their expertise in national accounts and price indices compilation. The project’s focus on improved gross domestic product (GDP) and prices data will be an important contribution to the International Comparison Program in which the countries are also participating. Technical assistance needs were drawn up based on national priorities and work planned or already completed in the context of the International Comparison Program and other statistics development programs. 

“Because of resource and other constraints, many countries struggle to produce timely data on national accounts and price changes for analytical purposes. This project will help develop a much needed capacity for implementing sustainable data programs to measure GDP and price changes that are comparable across countries,” said Mrs. Armida San Jose, Assistant Director of the IMF’s Statistics Department. As part of the project, the IMF will provide hands-on assistance through visits by experts to participating countries combined with workshops to provide practical training and allow countries to share experiences.

Ms. Chellam Palanyandy, Regional Coordinator, 2011 International Comparison Program Asia Pacific, who represented the Asian Development Bank (ADB) ─the Regional Coordinating Agency─in the workshop, added: “This project will complement efforts by the ADB and other agencies to help Asian countries implement the International Comparison Program. As the coordinator for that program in Asia, the ADB welcomes the launch of this project and is pleased to collaborate with the IMF and the countries involved.”

The International Comparison Program is a worldwide statistical partnership to collect comparative price data, compile detailed expenditure values of countries’ GDP, and estimate purchasing power parities of the world’s economies. Using purchasing power parities instead of market exchange rates to convert currencies makes it possible to compare the output of economies and the welfare of their population in real terms (controlling for differences in price levels).

Purchasing power parities, the main focus of the International Comparison Program, have important analytical uses including in the calculation of IMF quotas, which determines the voting power of IMF-member countries on its Executive Board.



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