Tue Nov 5, 2002 1:11 am


Otra versi`on periodistica basada en la misma entrevista de donde
Reuters produjo su reporte

Peru To Scrap `Fictional’ Monthly GDP Numbers

Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
512 words
29 October 2002
13:15
Dow Jones International News
English
(Copyright (c) 2002, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)

By Virginia Rey-Sanchez

LIMA -(Dow Jones)- Peru will scrap its monthly gross domestic product
indicator and instead release a monthly indicator of output in
various
sectors, Farid Matuk, the head of the National Statistics Institute,
or
INEI, said late Monday.

Matuk told journalists that the monthly GDP number had been distorted
by
unreliable data, especially in the heavily weighted “other services”
sector
and in the retail sector.

Recently named as head of the INEI, Matuk said Peru had
released “fictional
information” since 1987 based on the way the GDP number was
constructed.

“We either continue with the fiction or we make the information
realistic,”
he said.

A new monthly indicator known as “gross value added goods” will be
released
from next month, when the output for September is reported, he said.

“What we will be giving out can’t be called GDP,” he added.

The new indicator will include a primary sector, taking into account
agriculture, fishing and mining, and a secondary sector, including
manufacturing, construction, electricity and water.

Those sectors can also have sub-sectors, he said.

But the new indicator won’t measure services contained in the “other”
sector, nor growth in the retail sector.
Separate Data On Tax Intake; Move Welcomed

The INEI will also simultaneously but separately release information
on
movements in tax collections.

Matuk said that a newly revised quarterly GDP number will be released
after
the agency updates the base year used for GDP calculations using data
from
2001.

“Investors are going to have much more confidence in this statistic
than in
fictional information,” Matuk said.

He added that the Finance Ministry and the Central Reserve Bank of
Peru may
give their own estimates for GDP.

INEI recently reported that GDP rose 3.8% in August from the year-
earlier
month, with the economy expanding 4.1% in the first eight months.

President Alejandro Toledo recently predicted that Peru’s GDP will
expand
4.0% this year, despite negative growth in Latin America overall.

Private sector economists aren’t predicting yet how the statistical
overhaul
will affect INEI’s bottom-line numbers going forward, but some do
think the
move by the agency was overdue.

“The main problem with the old GDP numbers is that there wasn’t any
exact
way to calculate the `other services’ and retail, which meant they
had to be
estimated indirectly by taking percentages from other sectors,” said
Elmer
Cuba, an economist with Macroconsult, a local consultancy.

Macroconsult said the new indicator will be a better barometer of the
economy, as it won’t include calculations using tax collections,
which are
influenced by factors not tied to the economic cycle.

“Until they (the INEI) give out the new GDP, the private sector will
have to
calculate one each month on the basis of leading indicators,” he
added.

The Finance Ministry has recently started to release a growth
estimate based
on a basket of leading indicators.

-By Virginia Rey-Sanchez, Dow Jones Newswires; 511-221-7050;
peru@dowjones.com

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