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Accuracy and reliability

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External economy, Economic Statistics
Maria José Alvarez Pelaez
+45 39 17 34 86

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Balance of Payments

The compilation of the balance of payments is mainly based on other statistics. Accordingly, the accuracy of the balance of payments statistics is very much dependent upon these statistics. Most importantly, there will be some uncertainty attached to the first compilation of a given period, as some of the relevant information will not be available until later.

Overall accuracy

The transfer to new statistical sources and methods from January 2005 unavoidably incurred some transitional problems. Accordingly in a transitional period the uncertainty of the figures was higher than usually. In particular, this applied for the service item.

With the implementation of the new international guidelines (BPM6) in October 2014 some additional questions have been included in the questionnaire on international trade in services as from 2013. The new variables have made it possible to validate the information by comparing more directly vis-à-vis other statistical domains. Against that background, Statistics Denmark has mapped the foreign activities of selected larger Danish enterprises. The investigation has revealed a need to revise the Balance of Payments Statistics. Consequently Statistics Denmark will revise the statistics according to the results of this investigation, as well as due to some recently changes in existing data, in October 2016. The statistics will be revised back to 2005 and the figures will be published in October 2016. . More information on the revision and the investigation can be found on Balance of payments- current account and capital account

Sampling error

Not relevant for these statistics.

Non-sampling error

The balance of payments is compiled according to the double-entry system. Every transaction involves both a credit entry and a debit entry. This principle implies that the balance of payments, i.e. all three main accounts taken together, will always balance, any differences between the totals being attributable to statistical discrepancies, the so-called "errors and omissions". As data originates from other statistics the errors that may be attached to these statistics will be repeated in the balance of payments. In particular there will be errors in the first compilations of a certain time period as some relevant information is not available by then. The work with large case units and their production abroad open for large revisions of the data. The work on mapping companies’ structured and production setups is a time-consuming and difficult task, which often extends over several months.

Quality management

Statistics Denmark follows the recommendations on organisation and management of quality given in the Code of Practice for European Statistics (CoP) and the implementation guidelines given in the Quality Assurance Framework of the European Statistical System (QAF). A Working Group on Quality and a central quality assurance function have been established to continuously carry through control of products and processes.

Quality assurance

Statistics Denmark follows the principles in the Code of Practice for European Statistics (CoP) and uses the Quality Assurance Framework of the European Statistical System (QAF) for the implementation of the principles. This involves continuous decentralized and central control of products and processes based on documentation following international standards. The central quality assurance function reports to the Working Group on Quality. Reports include suggestions for improvement that are assessed, decided and subsequently implemented.

Quality assessment

Compared to balance of payments statistics in countries, which are comparable with respect to size and development, the Danish balance of payments statistics is considered to be of good quality. In its annual evaluation of quality the Commission has declared the statistics to be up to EU requirements.

Data revision - policy

Statistics Denmark revises published figures in accordance with the Revision Policy for Statistics Denmark. The common procedures and principles of the Revision Policy are for some statistics supplemented by a specific revision practice.

Data revision practice

After the first publication of the balance of payments, it is continuously adjusted, as supplementary or adjusted statistical material appears. Property income from direct investment is projected on the basis of an aggregated estimate for the profit of the enterprise, as well as current information on distributed dividend. Data are not reported until up to 22 months after the end of the reference period. Data are published in September the year after the end of the reference period. Until then monthly data are based on estimated figures and therefore subject to more uncertainty than reported figures. According to practice the data of the months of the previous year are locked by June. Simultaneously the data of the preceding year are revised and locked again. The data of the latter year are revised again internally around June for being included in the final National Account compilations. These data are thus declared final the following June.