UK to consider error ranges for official GDP data

UK to consider error ranges for official GDP data

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians walk along the Southbank in view of skyscrapers in the financial district in London

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s statisticians will consider publishing confidence intervals for quarterly estimates of gross domestic product growth to better communicate the uncertainty in initial estimates of economic performance.

The Office for National Statistics said on Monday that data revisions tended to be sharpest at turning points in the economy — for example, the downturn being caused by the current impact of COVID-19.

“Depending on user feedback, we could implement the proposed confidence intervals around the latest estimates of calendar quarter GDP, which would be a marked departure from how we have previously communicated data uncertainty,” it said.

The ONS said it would continue to declare ‘technical recessions’ when there are two consecutive calendar quarters of contraction, but would not do so for more recently introduced rolling three-month data or regional GDP figures.

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