IMF Statistical Forum Discusses the Role of Statistics for Global Economic and Financial Stability
A forum organized by the Statistics Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week discussed the key role of statistics in support of effective policy actions taken by country authorities and policy advice provided by the IMF. The forum, the first of its kind, took place on November 12-13, 2013 in Washington providing a unique setting for policy discussions on cutting-edge statistics among a broad range of stakeholders: academics, private sector analysts, data compilers, and decision makers. Participants discussed recent progress in closing data gaps exposed by the global financial crisis; risk exposures in international and sectoral balance sheets; cross-border linkages and spillovers; shadow banks and global contagion; fault lines in the public sector; and potential problems from capital flows.
In his welcoming remarks, David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, noted that the recent global crisis reaffirmed the relevance of traditional residence-based economic and financial statistics but stressed that the “crisis also revealed a need for more and better data, data that go beyond traditional statistics.” He added that new data sets are needed, “especially as the focus of policy has shifted to the stability of global and domestic financial systems and to questions about interconnectedness, global risks, and vulnerabilities.”
During the discussions, participants underscored the critical importance of reliable, timely, granular, and internationally comparable data. They also stressed the need for accurate assessments of risks and the role of the Fund in helping its members develop sound macroeconomic policies based on high quality statistics.
A general theme at the forum was that the need for more data must be matched by better use of existing data, particularly in the development and application of analytical frameworks. Participants recognized that users’ data needs can be met only if more resources are devoted to statistics, with, priorities set to keep costs and benefits in mind. Participants underscored the usefulness of standards and consistent approaches to gathering information to optimize the advantages of comparability and accurate measurement across countries. They also agreed that more work was warranted to disseminate available data, promote greater interaction between data users and producers, and enhance collaborative efforts between public and private sectors to compile standardized data.
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