Irish Economy: Richard Bruton's department of jobs, enterprise and innovation says in answer to a simple question on the total headline value of Irish exports in 2012, there is a choice of 2 answers - - with one that includes errors.
Bruton himself prefers to use the value of €182.2bn compared with the total of €176.6bn that is used in the national accounts as published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in late March.
The difference of €5.6bn -- equivalent to one-third of the annual value of indigenous exports - - relates to an adjustment for double-counting and mispricing on the original value of €92.0bn for merchandise exports that was issued by the CSO in mid-March. In the Balance of Payments (BOP) detail, the value of goods exports is €86.4bn as per the chart above.
In a spin-free world, the BoP value would be the official final one.
The CSO says exports may be valued using a preliminary price at the time of shipping, with the market price agreed in a later period, and adjustments are made to exports in the BOP to account for this practice where known. The other factor is that in the External Trade statistics record all goods that pass the border at the reported value, whereas merchandise in the BOP is adjusted to remove any exports / imports from External Trade statistics that have passed the border without change of ownership e.g imports that become intermediate exports and are re-imported and exported again.
Most of the adjustment relates to ex-EU27 trade as per the chart above.
This was the department's response to whether the total value of 2012 exports in the 2012 national accounts is the correct value for 2012 exports:
"1. Can you confirm the CSO's total is the official one?
No. The CSO has a number of different trade statistics, adjusted in different ways.
The €182bn figure in relation to 2012 total exports is made up of two separate parts and comes from two different CSO sources. These are the statistics the Department uses to analyse export performance.
It is made up of Merchandise Exports of €91.964 bn which was reported in the CSO Goods Exports and Imports Release January 2013 (release date of 14 March 2013) http://cso.ie/en/media/csoie/ releasespublications/ documents/externaltrade/2013/ gei_jan2013.pdf
(This set of statistics provides a breakdown by countries and categories of goods)
and also :
Services Exports of €90.218 bn, which was reported in the March release Balance of International Payments Quarter 4 and Year 2012 http://cso.ie/en/media/csoie/ releasespublications/ documents/economy/2012/bop_ q42012.pdf
(The services figures for particular years in the Balance of International Payments are also those used in the annual International Trade in Services release in September each year which provides a breakdown of exports and imports from individual countries and a breakdown by category of service)
The footnote with the figures for Merchandise exports and imports in the Balance of International Payments release indicates that these are adjusted for balance of payments purposes. They differ from those provided in the CSO's Goods Exports and Imports release which is the monthly release which the Department relies on for the value of goods exports."
So there is no official headline value for 2012 exports because the department prefers the unadjusted total complete with errors.
This bizarre position is in addition to the bigger one where up to 40% of services exports are overstated.
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