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Massive revision of first quarter ’s trade data

27.05.2003 11:29

The April foreign trade deficit jumped surprisingly sharply to CZK 8.8bn. This can be largely accounted for by aircraft imports involving the purchase of two large passenger aircraft for CZK 3.4 bn. We had only counted on the purchase of a single aircraft in our estimate. The Czech Statistical Office also stressed the higher imports of road vehicles, which we however have been drawing attention to since the start of this year. There were no significant changes in other items. Without these aircraft, the deficit would not have diverged from its course this year, taking into account seasonal variations.

The most important information in yesterday’s report is about the massive revision of the first quarter ’s figures. The total deficit fell to half its original value, CZK 7.1bn, which is even lower than in the first quarter of last year. In particular, the Czech Statistical Office made a huge adjustment to the March deficit, reducing it from CZK 9.2bn to CZK 4.0bn. The documentation system for foreign trade is clearly still not working at its best, and so we can ’t rule out larger revisions over the coming months.

What is positive, however, is that so far the original figures have all been revised to give lower deficits. The low deficit for the first quarter is again a convincing argument that industry is continuing successfully in spite of the stagnation in EU economies. Foreign trade is now keeping the current account payments balance within an acceptable range,as the current account is currently under considerable pressure from the drop in income from the export of services.

(CSOB, Central European Weekly)

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