On 30 September 1997, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) published an Information Paper entitled Implementation of Revised International Standards in the Australian National Accounts (Cat. no. 5251.0) detailing the implementation of the System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA93) in the Australian national accounts (ANA).
An important recommendation in SNA93 is that annually-reweighted chain volume measures should be compiled to aid the analysis of economic statistics. SNA93 argues that chain volume measures provide better indicators of volume growth than constant price estimates for most economic statistics relating to expenditure and production. The ABS will be implementing this change with the move to SNA93 as from September quarter 1998.
This information paper on chain volume measures has been produced because of the importance of the change to users, and the relatively complex issues associated with chaining and choice of the appropriate index number approach.
The ABS has undertaken extensive empirical studies which confirm that, in the past, the change to annually-reweighted, chain volume measures would have had a substantial impact on the growth in volume of some important components of expenditure on gross domestic product (GDP), most notably private gross fixed capital expenditure on equipment and imports, but because these were largely off-setting the change had little impact on the growth in volume of Australia's GDP.
Over the last eighteen months or so, the ABS has consulted international experts in index theory, conducted seminars for representatives of major user groups, including the ABS's Economic Statistics User Group, and presented discussion papers. All users consulted have supported the change.