5342.0 - Balance of Payments Statistics, Information Paper on Quality , 1996  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/02/1996   
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2.54. To the extent that other countries compile balance of payments statistics by partner country on a basis largely consistent with that used by Australia, it is possible to compare partner countries' estimates of their transactions with Australia with Australia's estimates of its transactions with those countries. For example, a recent bilateral study between the ABS and the New Zealand Department of Statistics compared statistics of transactions between the two countries in the fields of services and international investment. This study has alerted both statistical agencies to possible causes of discrepancies in the statistics and has suggested areas for improvement which are being pursued.

2.55. Another investigation compared Australia's merchandise trade statistics (on an international trade basis) with those of other countries. The results of this investigation were published in an article titled Merchandise Export and Import Statistics by Country - Factors Affecting Bilateral Comparisons in the June 1991 issue of Australian Economic Indicators (1350.0). The analysis revealed no significant understatement or overstatement of exports or imports statistics for Australia. A subsequent intensive bilateral reconciliation study, conducted jointly by the ABS and the US Department of Commerce, analysed statistics of merchandise trade flows between Australia and the United States of America. The study revealed only minor (less than 5%) unexplained discrepancies between the two countries' sets of statistics. Further investigations of this type are underway or planned as they may give useful pointers to possible inaccuracies in the statistics and, if the discrepancies turn out to be minor, give greater confidence in the quality of the particular statistical series.

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