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5489.0 - International Merchandise Trade, Australia, Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2001  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/05/2001   
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8.70 Timeliness refers to the time interval between the end of the reference period and the release of the initial estimates for that period. There is an important trade-off between the accuracy and reliability of the estimates and the timeliness of their release. As these data are important inputs to major economic indicators, and there is widespread use of the data for a variety of other purposes, there is a need to publish the statistics on as timely a basis as possible, consistent with achieving acceptable levels of accuracy and reliability.

8.71 To the extent that complete or accurate data may not be available within the desired time frame, there will be compromises in data quality. For example, details for a small proportion of exports for the latest month are not received in time to meet the monthly publication timetables. Estimates are therefore made to cover the value of these 'missing' exports. This leads to some sacrifice in quality in exchange for timeliness. The ABS continues to meet established release timetables, despite increases in the number of records being processed each year, through efficiency gains in processing.

8.72 The timeliness of public release of Australia's international merchandise trade statistics rates favourably against similar, detailed statistics produced by our major trading partners, as shown in the following table. The collection, compilation and dissemination practices vary between the major trading partners, so only broad comparisons are possible.

8.8 RELEASE OF INTERNATIONAL MERCHANDISE TRADE STATISTICS: COMPARISON WITH MAJOR TRADING PARTNERS (a)


CountryPeriodPublic release of international merchandise trade statistics



Australia



Monthly


  • Imports are released 12 working days after the end of the reference month.
  • Exports are released 21 working days after the end of the reference month.
GermanyMonthly
  • 40 days after the end of the reference month.
JapanMonthly
  • No later than 3 weeks after the end of the reference month.
Korea, Republic ofMonthly
  • Approximately 30 days after the end of the reference month.
New ZealandMonthly
  • Imports are released 18 working days after the end of the reference month.
  • Exports are released 28 working days after the end of the reference month.
United KingdomMonthly
  • Within 4 weeks after the end of the reference month for data on non-European Union trade.
  • Within 8 weeks after the end of the reference month for data on European Union trade.
United States of AmericaMonthly
  • Approximately 45 to 50 days, and no later than 52 days, after the end of the reference month.


(a) China and Taiwan are also both major trading partners of Australia but required details are not listed on the IMF web site.
Source: International Monetary Fund web site (http://dsbb.imf.org) and information provided by Statistics New Zealand.

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