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Preview of 2015 revisions to balance of payments and national accounts

This page explains the revisions to macroeconomic statistics in the balance of payments and national accounts for 2015.

We make revisions annually in line with international best practice, to ensure the statistics continue to reflect our changing world.

Revisions fall into three broad categories:

  • due to new or updated information becoming available
  • due to new or updated annual benchmarks
  • due to conceptual or methodology changes.

This page focuses on the upcoming revisions caused by annual benchmarks and methodology changes.

The revisions will appear in our upcoming economic releases:

  • Balance of Payments and International Investment Position: June 2015 quarter – release date 16 September 2015
  • Gross Domestic Product: June 2015 quarter – release date 17 September 2015
  • Tourism Satellite Account: 2015 – release date 27 October 2015
  • National Accounts (Income and Expenditure): Year ended March 2015 – release date 20 November 2015.

Revisions to spending by international visitors to New Zealand

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) revised the data we use to estimate expenditure by international visitors to New Zealand. The revisions affect data from the September 2013 quarter to the September 2014 quarter, and are a result of MBIE adopting an improved outlier detection and treatment methodology for the International Visitor Survey (IVS). 
2015 revisions to New Zealand's macroeconomic accounts explains these revisions.

We have applied the improved outlier detection and treatment methodology to the IVS results from the December 2014 quarter onwards. This means we have already incorporated the improved methodology into our macroeconomic statistics from December 2014 quarter, so there will be no revisions (relating to the new outlier methodology) from that period on.

Exports of travel services will be $273 million smaller for the March 2014 year as a result of these revisions.

The following statistics and data series will be affected by these revisions.

Exports of personal travel services

Why series is affected: We will adopt an improved outlier detection and treatment methodology for the IVS.
Direction of change: Decrease

Current account balance

Why series is affected: Records the balance of New Zealand’s earnings from overseas, and expenses overseas. Exports of travel services are part of New Zealand’s earnings from overseas.
Direction of change: Larger deficits, smaller surpluses

Household consumption expenditure

Why series is affected: If less expenditure in the economy is attributed to overseas visitors, this implies that New Zealand households are spending more.
Direction of change: Increase

Household saving

Why series is affected: If New Zealand households are spending more, this implies they are saving less.
Direction of change: Decrease

Note that there will be no material impact on GDP as a result of these revisions. The fall in personal travel services exports is offset by an increase in household consumption expenditure in current price terms.

Revisions to spending by international students in New Zealand

We update estimates for spending by international students annually, based on tuition fee data from the Ministry of Education. As data is only available for the latest December year, we calculate estimates for the subsequent year, and replace them with actual data when it becomes available.

We spread the annual estimate across the four quarters to provide quarterly estimates of spending by international students. As part of the 2015 annual revision process, we revised the annual benchmark for the year ended March 2015 (replacing the estimate with actual data), which caused revisions from the June 2014 quarter to the March 2015 quarter.

Exports of travel services will be $348 million larger for the March 2015 year as a result of these revisions (combined with revisions to spending by international visitors to New Zealand in the June and September 2014 quarters).

The following statistics and data series will be affected by these revisions.

Exports of education travel services

Why series is affected: We will replace estimates of spending by international students in New Zealand, with a new annual benchmark based on actual tuition fee data.
Direction of change: Increase

Current account balance

Why series is affected: Records the balance of New Zealand’s earnings from overseas, and expenses overseas. Exports of travel services are part of New Zealand’s earnings from overseas.
Direction of change: Larger surpluses, smaller deficits

Household consumption expenditure

Why series is affected: If more expenditure in the economy is attributed to overseas visitors, this implies that New Zealand households are spending less.
Direction of change: Decrease

Household saving

Why series is affected: If New Zealand households are spending less, this implies they are saving more.
Direction of change: Increase

As with the previous revision, there will be no material impact on GDP as a result of these changes. The increase in education travel services exports is offset by a decrease in household consumption expenditure in current price terms.

Combined impact of the revisions

The graphs below show the quarterly impacts of the revisions. Final published results may differ slightly due to additional updated data, but should be similar.

Graph, Exports of travel services, quarterly, June 2012 to March 2015.

Graph, Household consumption expenditure, quarterly, seasonally adjusted, June 2012 to March 2015.

Other revisions to the national accounts in November and December

Several other revisions will be published in national accounts releases on 20 November 2015 (National Accounts (Income and Expenditure): Year ended March 2015 and National Accounts (Industry Benchmarks): Year ended March 2013). Revisions will incorporate information from sources like the 2013 Census and 2013 Household Expenditure Survey, as well as a review of methods for some industry estimates.

We’ll publish more information before the 20 November 2015 release, describing how these revisions will flow through to key measures including current price GDP and Household Saving. We’ll show how these changes, and other methodological improvements, flow through to Gross Domestic Product: September 2015 quarter, which will be published in December 2015. This December 2015 release will also include revisions from our regular incorporation of annual benchmarks.

Published 9 September 2015

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