Revision of Barbados’ GDP Current Price Series from 1990 to date

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The Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) has revised the series of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates for the period 1990 – 2008. This series has been compiled in accordance with the guidelines, concepts and definitions used by the United Nation’s 1993 System of National Account (SNA). The revised series are shown in the Attachments.

Background

The Barbados Statistical Service, with the assistance of the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC), developed over a three year period (2007 – 2009), a series of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates based on the SNA 1993. These estimates were compiled for GDP by Industrial Activity, as well as Expenditure on Gross Domestic Product at Market Prices.

The CARTAC mission completed work on the revised Barbados’ GDP current price series for the years 1990-2007. This series was continued by staff of the BSS. Provisional estimates for 2009 will be published in the Barbados Economic and Social Report 2009.

The revised GDP series drew on an expanded range of data sources such as additional business surveys and the value added tax system. A major objective was to bring the BSS’ national accounts compilation practices in line with the System of National Accounts 1993.

This exercise was preceded by the creation of Supply and Use Tables (SUT) for 2000. The SUT is a powerful economic-data integrating accounting framework. The framework imposes a simultaneous balancing of the output of industries and the use of these commodities. ??Because of the accounting framework these tables provide periodic benchmark estimates, usually every five years, which anchor the annual estimates of GDP. The 2000 SUT revealed under-coverage in some industries and components of the Expenditure-based GDP.

Changes in the Presentation of the Data

The previous GDP by Industry series showed Sugar and Tourism as separate industries. Under the 1993 System of National Account, the cultivation of sugar cane is now captured under Agriculture; while the production of Sugar is captured under Manufacturing. In addition, under the 1993 SNA, Tourism is not identified as an industry. The current presentation now shows the activities of Hotels and Restaurants only. (Gross Domestic Product by Industry at Market Prices-Attachment 2).

According to the 1993 SNA methodology, in order to measure the contribution of Tourism, it would be necessary to develop a Tourism Satellite Account (TSA). The TSA would identify the goods and services sold to tourists and develop a framework for measuring that activity. These activities will include industries such as local transportation and tours, entertainment and purchase of souvenirs and duty free items. The BSS is in the process of developing the TSA.

Also included is a value for Financial Intermediation Services Indirectly Measured (FISIM), presented in the table of GDP by Industrial Activity (Attachment 2). This is the output of commercial banks and other financial institutions. The FISIM is also in the adjustment of Net Personal Consumption Expenditure and Net Government Expenditure in the Table of Expenditure on GDP (Attachment 1).

The revised series introduced the concept of Statistical Discrepancy, which is used as a balancing item when comparing the expenditure approach with the production approach. This error was previously subsumed under Personal Consumption Expenditure.

Personal Consumption Expenditure is now derived as an independent estimate and thus any discrepancies are shown separately (Attachment 1).

The revised GDP series would however still exclude aspects of the non-observed economy which is not measured due to data limitations. The non-observed economy includes underground and illegal activity.

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