Real or Mock Surplus? Uncertainties in Measuring Goods and Current Account Balance
Péter Bánhegyi
Statistics, Magyar Nemzeti Bank, Budapest, Hungary

Statistics are complied upon reports provided by data suppliers which are usually obliged to give their data by law. These laws include goals of these data reports and guidelines for providing them. Even in the case, however, when these data reports fulfil all requirements, we would not be sure that we have got the right picture of economic processes because, as a result of characteristics and possibilities of the reporting system, value added belonging to non resident economies may appear in resident statistics, mainly in foreign trade, balance of payments and national accounts. In other words, it is important to distinguish real value added from the mock one in these statistics. Eurostat and many national statistical institutes have already noticed and identified this problem and suggested different solutions considered adequate but it seems that there is no comprehensive description and analysis of this question yet. We will therefore examine this phenomenon and its proposed solutions together with their practical difficulties and consequences. It will be clear that this question of value added, although it is also usually in relation to multinational enterprises, is rather different from the one of SPEs and it may raise in any country where it is possible to receive data from non residents for resident statistics. Statisticians should be care since the already recorded mock value added may amount to significant order and it may cause considerable distorsions and revisions in different statistics.

Keywords: Value added; Balance of payments; Community concept; Multinational enterprises

Biography: I am working as a senior statistical analyst in Magyar Nemzeti Bank and take a part in the compilation of balance of payments of Hungary. It is a continuous task for me - together with my colleagues - to bring the great variety of data sources and data suppliers in harmony with methodological requirements of balance of payments. In Hungary I am mainly dealing with the recording of real economy transactions and their financing so I have to face inconsistency of these data reported in different data sources if it exists. Since it does among others in the case when value added appeared in resident statistics is not belonging to the resident economy and there are some reflections on this field by other compilators in the European Union, this drives me to examine comprehensive conditions of eliminating this value added and their consequences in methodology, compilation and data.