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QUALITY DECLARATION - SUMMARY
The monthly international trade in goods and services publication is released 21 working days after the end of each reference month. In general, source data used in the compilation of recorded trade and balance of payments statistics are timely. Goods data are collected on a monthly basis. The collection of services data is more varied due to the wider number of data sources used to compile trade in services statistics.
The ABS uses several estimation methods to account for the less timely source data. Extrapolation methods are used to project particular series forward until survey or administrative results are available. Similarly, when data sources or data models provide data on a less frequent basis than the periodicity of compilation, data are interpolated between periods to obtain sufficiently frequent estimates.
The ABS uses a variety of methods to routinely assess the information from surveys and administrative data. Sound data collection and methodological systems, conformity to international standard frameworks, and the use of analytical tools all contribute to high quality outputs. Nevertheless, the data may not be accurate for a number of reasons. Sampling error occurs when estimates are derived from a sample survey and the whole population is not enumerated. Estimation methods are applied to incomplete data. Extrapolation methods are used to project particular series forward until survey or administrative results become available, and for data provided on an irregular basis. Data confrontation studies are used to compare and reconcile data items from different collections on an enterprise basis if possible. The ABS ensures that surveys are designed, tested and evaluated to a high standard. Data based on administrative data sources are subject to classification, processing, coverage and timing adjustments, and modelling as appropriate. The financial press is regularly monitored for large international transactions.
The general policy adopted in relation to revisions is to incorporate more accurate estimates into the data as they become available. To minimise disruption to the historical time series:
For further information please refer to International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5489.0) and Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5331.0).
Statistics on Australia's international trade in goods and services are compiled and presented in accordance with international standards. The main standards include:
Modifications and extensions take account of domestic user requirements for additional details and views of the data. Where possible, data are validated against independent sources both within the ABS and externally. For example, the media is monitored for large transactions in activities in exports and imports of goods and services, and changes in commodity prices. The ABS provides aggregated statistics (by partner country where possible) to international organisations including the IMF and the OECD, which reconcile information from all countries.
The ABS makes available historical quarterly time series for its international accounts dating back to 1959. Key monthly time series date back to 1971 for balance of payments data, 1978 for exchange rates, and 1988 for merchandise trade data. When changes in source data, methodology or statistical techniques are introduced, historical time series are revised back as far as reasonably possible.
International trade in goods statistics are reconcilable to the international merchandise trade statistics.
This publication presents data on goods and services credits and debits, to be used in the current account of the balance of payments. Gross credits and debits series for goods and services are presented distinct from each other. Time series data, in current prices, are provided in original, seasonally adjusted and trend estimates terms.
International merchandise trade statistics provide detailed commodity statistics according to several classifications. Time series data are presented in original terms only.
For more information on seasonal adjustment and trend estimation, please refer to the Information Paper: A Guide to Interpreting Time Series - Monitoring Trends, 2003 (cat. no. 1349.0).
The 'Notes' and 'Analysis and Comments' of this publication provide advice on any changes which may be occurring. Also, if major changes are anticipated to any of the classifications, information papers associated with the publication are released in advance to advise the change and implementation plans.
The International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5489.0) gives a good description of the scope, methods and concepts underpinning the international merchandise trade statistics, the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5331.0) gives a good description of the scope, methods and concepts underpinning the international trade in goods and services statistics.
Data are available to users free of charge from the ABS website. The publication is available in pdf format, along with time series and data cubes for major data series. The ABS website contains analysis of the latest data and supporting graphs and charts.
The international trade in goods and services statistics are published monthly. Tables are available in spreadsheet format, many with data series beginning in July 1971. More detailed data are available on request as a 'user pays' service which can be tailored to suit individual requirements. This service can be accessed through the ABS information and referral service on 1300 135 070 or go to the Information Consultancy link on the ABS website.
The International Merchandise Trade, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5489.0) and Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5331.0) provide users with detailed information on these accounts. They describe the conceptual framework underlying the statistics, classification of data items, presentations and publications. Information is also presented on data sources, compilation methodologies, data quality, relationships with national accounts, and emerging issues.
There are a range of information papers, notes, publications and feature articles that provide information on a number of data quality issues. These include changes to the classifications, systems, concepts, standards or methodology; major data revisions; and changes in data dissemination practices. The purpose of this information is to supplement and update the concepts, sources and methods.
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