ESCWA organized an Expert Group Meeting on Short Term Statistics from 16 to18 February, 2016 in Amman, Jordan. The meeting was held in the context of the project “Strengthening the Statistical Capacity of ESCWA Member Countries in Producing and Disseminating Short-term Economic Indicators for Sustainable Growth,” in coordination with the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD).
Experts from several organizations participated and provided guidance on methodology in their areas of expertise: UNSD on the programme for short-term statistics and related handbooks in preparation, the Gulf Cooperation Council Statistical Centre (GCC-Stat) on the GCC road map on short term economic statistics, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on the Index of Industrial production and seasonal adjustments, Eurostat on rapid estimates and flash Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) on the Production Price Index and the Export and Import Price Indexes (XMPI).and information systems for national accounts, and the Swiss Economic Institute on the production of composite indicators and their importance as a useful tool in policy analysis and as an early signal about the business cycle.
Short-term policy issues have become more critical for policymakers in their quest to guide the short-term direction of the economies as a result of globalization and a rapidly expanding financial sector. In the region however, due to the lack of quarterly and monthly economic data in most ESCWA member countries, policymakers are faced with difficulties in measuring and projecting the consequences of short-term economic developments. Therefore, it is crucial for the national statistical systems in the region to produce short-term indicators timely and periodically in order to measure and monitor various economic fluctuations and business cycles and respond to them scientifically and punctually.
Participants from countries and regional organization presented their experience in compilation and data gaps. The EGM provided a unique platform for the exchange of experiences among countries in the region and with experts from organizations specialized in the different areas of short-term statistics. The meeting concluded with a set of recommendations addressed to the countries and to organizations on improving short-term statistics in priority areas identified by countries.
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