Thursday, 28 September 2023
WorldNew data

New data

As we have commented, INEGI published its new economic series yesterday, now using 2018 as the base year. This is an unusual change, as this has traditionally been done every 10 years. In the old days, we have estimates based on 1950, 1960, 1970 and 1980, and then we had to wait until 1993, already with INEGI as responsible. From then on, we kept the 10-year periodicity, and the next base years were 2003 and 2013. It seemed logical that we would expect to have 2023 as the new reference, but they beat us to it, and decided to use 2018.

The start was not without difficulties, and instead of publishing at 6 am, as is normal, they waited for the 10 o’clock event to send the statement. The use of the series through the Economic Information Bank was already available at 8, but with deficiencies, such as the fact that the series does not have its title, and you have to keep guessing. Considering the disaster that this government has been in terms of information technology, I better not even complain.

There is an advance in the monthly information, and it is that we will have much more clarity in the services, since several series that came on top of each other, are now separated: transport and information, financial and real estate services, entertainment and other services. The weights of each sector also change, as expected. Mining is reduced, but less than I expected, while the drop in construction is serious (from 8 to 6.4% of the total), manufacturing grows considerably, and goes from 18.6 to 21.3%. Keep in mind that these adjustments compare 2018 with 2013, and not what has happened since 2018. I am commenting on this because in these five years construction has fallen a lot, and manufacturing has taken off. Hence my concern that they have not waited until 2023 for the new base year.

In services, wholesale trade loses a bit of share while retail remains the same, as we had assumed a few days ago. Transportation grows and the weight of information is reduced, and that sounds a bit worrisome, considering that telecommunications are in this last category. There is also a reduction in the weight of financial and insurance services, from 4.2 to 3.9%, and a greater blow to the real estate sector, which goes from 10.3 to 9.3% of the total. Both behaviors are worrying, because these sectors should grow as the economy advances.

By changing the weight of each sector, the total value of the economy is affected, and therefore growth. Thus, the average annual growth from 1980 to 2018, which was 2.4% with the base year 2013, is now 2.2%. And the annual average from 2018 to the second half of 2023 also changes, but in reverse: instead of the 0.3% we had until Monday, it is now 0.6%. Already with this, able that the six-year term gets rid of being the worst in a century. I suppose that was not the reason for changing the base year more frequently, but it is the new data.

In addition to this, there is a lot of information that changes and a lot of other information that is new: digital economy, informal economy now even by state, new estimates of the relative size of the federal entities. It will take us several weeks to review all of this in detail, and update the calculations and estimates. It is undoubtedly a good thing, but I don’t know if it was the most urgent thing to correct in INEGI’s economic measurements. Perfecting the ENIGH, making the GDP and the IGAE compatible, finding some decent measure of employment and income for the population seemed to me better objectives. In case one day they ask.

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