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Preview of 2016 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 2016.

We make revisions annually in line with international best practice, to ensure the statistics our customers use 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 revisions that will appear in our upcoming economic releases:

  • Balance of Payments and International Investment Position: June 2016 quarter – release date 14 September 2016
  • Gross Domestic Product: June 2016 quarter – release date 15 September 2016
  • National Accounts (Income and Expenditure): Year ended March 2016 – release date 18 November 2016.

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 2016 annual revision process, we revised the annual benchmark for the year ended March 2016 (replacing the estimate with actual data), which caused revisions from the June 2015 quarter to the March 2016 quarter.

Exports of travel services will be $322 million larger for the March 2016 year as a result of these revisions.

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

  • Exports of education travel services
  • Current account balance
  • Household consumption expenditure
  • Household saving.

Revisions to investment income

Each June quarter, we update investment income estimates derived from Inland Revenue data, to reflect the latest income tax returns. The Inland Revenue data is an undercoverage estimate for the overseas income of individuals, trusts, and small companies not included in surveys. We classify all Inland Revenue data to 'other investment income' as we cannot distinguish between the different types of income that make up this estimate.

Overseas reinsurance claims from the Canterbury earthquakes

In the March 2016 and December 2015 balance of payments and international investment position releases, we reported that the total international reinsurance claims from all Canterbury earthquakes would be revised in the June 2016 quarter.

We have decided not to make this revision this year as more work is required to accurately determine the size of the revisions. This revision will attempt to capture all small changes to claims and settlements that we have not previously revised in the figures.

Early estimates indicate this revision would increase both reinsurance claims and settlements. However, settlements are likely to revise by more than claims so the total outstanding claims series will revise down.

Other revisions to the national accounts in November and December

Several other revisions will be published in national accounts releases on 18 November 2016:

  • National Accounts (Income and Expenditure): Year ended March 2016
  • National Accounts (Industry Benchmarks): Year ended March 2014.

We’ll publish more information before the 18 November 2016 release, describing how these revisions will flow through to key measures, including current price GDP. We’ll show how these changes, and other methodological improvements, flow through to Gross Domestic Product: September 2016 quarter, which will be published in December 2016. This December 2016 release will also include revisions from our regular incorporation of annual benchmarks.


Page published 12 September 2016

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