Archive for Jude Webber

La dolce vita: Is Peru’s feelgood factor spreading?

Posted in 3 Cables with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2009 by Farid Matuk

By Jude Webber

PACHACUTEC, Peru, Nov 29 (Reuters) – President Alejandro Toledo boasts that more Peruvians are going to the movies — a sure sign, he says, that improving gross domestic product statistics mean la dolce vita (the sweet life) is spreading. Economists call it the trickle down effect — and trickle is the word, say residents in Pachacutec, a sprawling shanty town of straw and wood huts on the sandy hills sloping up from the Pacific Ocean at the northern fringe of Peru’s capital. “Things are gradually getting better. Two months ago I didn’t have a job. Now I have some work … It’s not great but I can pay for my daughter’s school,” said construction worker Emerson Reategui, 42, on his way with a sheaf of documents to apply for official property rights to his shanty town home.

“We’ve got to give Toledo more time to work. He’s made a lot of promises. In Pachacutec we feel he’s keeping them slowly — but he is keeping them in things like property rights, which he’s starting to give, and job projects,” said Carlos Ricaldi, 28, in his small but well-stocked store. “I see progress.” Toledo, who took office in July 2001 promising more jobs and prosperity, hails Latin America’s No. 7 economy as the region’s darling this year, saying international markets made their feelings plain by clamoring for a $500 million bond that Peru sold this week to raise cash to plug its budget deficit. Although the issue meant Peru beefing up its borrowing just as Argentina’s multiple debt defaults and Brazil’s ability to manage its $260 billion public debt have worried markets, economists were cheered by the relatively cheap interest rates it won. Peru expects its 2003 debt servicing costs to rise to $2.2 billion from around $2 billion now, but trumpets its nearly $10 billion in international reserves as a sign of solidity.

Indeed, the government is so delighted with the health of the economy — illustrated by ever rosier performance reports, including an official September growth figure of 7.3 percent — that it has jacked up its 2002 GDP growth target to 4.2 percent from a previous 3.7 percent. The acceleration comes after four years of economic woes and political strife. GDP grew just 0.2 percent last year. And the head of the government’s National Statistics Institute said this week even those glowing figures were still too low. Farid Matuk said methodology problems meant Peru had been “systematically underestimating” its data for years. Peru is hoping to parlay the good news into closer trade ties when U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans visits next week.

MOVIES, CELLPHONES, SHOPPING

Toledo never tires of telling voters — many of whom are underwhelmed by his progress in creating jobs in a nation where more than half the people live on $1.25 a day — that he has sacrificed his popularity for the sake of economic prudence. The U.S.-trained business school professor, whose approval rating has climbed nearly 10 points recently but is still only around the mid-20s in polls, told reporters this week that rises in the numbers of moviegoers, cellphone users and supermarket sales showed an increasing feelgood factor. “You may ask what (the economy) has got to do with the cinema? Well, if you’ve got a job, you can go to the movies more,” he said. “The economy is becoming more dynamic, people are buying more. It’s slow but things are improving.”

At Peru’s top business forum this week, a partner at a headhunting firm said trade was picking up, and executives said the labor intensive construction sector was in full recovery. But Peru is a country of big contrasts — only one in five people in Lima do their shopping in supermarkets, as opposed to local markets, and the gap between rich and poor still yawns. “The levels of inequality have increased. There is more, but notmore for everyone,” Matuk said. Elmer Cuba, economist at private consultancy Macroconsult, said things were picking up slowly “but we still need stronger and more sustained growth for real salaries to grow, and that process is going to take years.”

Back in Pachacutec, one measure of quality of life is whether residents still have plastic drums outside their homes and have to wait for the water truck to trundle past or whether they can hook up to new standpipes on their dirt streets. Residents said European aid agencies or American evangelists, not the government, had brought the water. But they credit the government — which says it has created 160,000 jobs in state temporary work schemes — with giving them jobs as street cleaners and park builders.

“I feel a bit better. Not that much, but I’m less afraid of where I’m going to get food from than I was before,” said Angelica Azteca, a 28-year-old housewife and mother-of-three, who spends 15 soles ($4.30) a day on food for her family. But others were gloomier. “I feel just the same — it seems my pockets are full of holes. Money goes in and out like water,” said Luz Malaga, 54. “I think Toledo has good intentions, and that he’s trying to do something. But don’t they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions?”

(Additional reporting by Tania Mellado, Eduardo Orozco)
((Lima newsroom, tel: +511 2…
< , fax +511 221 2133, e-mail:
lima.newsroom@reuters.com))

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New throughout

Posted in 3 Cables with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2009 by Farid Matuk

By Jude Webber
LIMA, Peru, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Peru’s National Statistics Institute published sector-by-sector production figures for September on Tuesday that analysts said proved Latin  America’s No. 7 economy was growing faster than expected — for now. The government agency, INEI, said in a report production in the manufacturing sector — vital for much-needed jobs growth – rose 7.43 percent in September compared with the same 2001 month, while output in the nation’s traditional mainstays of fisheries and mining grew 18.31 and 2.8 percent respectively. Agriculture output rose 3.69 percent, it said. The agency gave no comparisons for the data. INEI said last month that the gross domestic product data it had been releasing monthly for the past 15 years were faulty, and said the new-look sector-by-sector figures would be the only indication of monthly economic performance until it had corrected its methodology and rebased its index next year. One of the main problems with the old data was how the services sector was calculated, and INEI had planned to strip that out and issue an aggregate figure for the primary and secondary sectors — chiefly mining, fishing and industry – that make up around half the economy.
But in a U-turn on Tuesday, INEI said it had changed its mind on issuing monthly GDP data because it had been impossible to work out an accurate new aggregate methodology in time, and would still issue an old-style September GDP figure next week. One economist at a large bank in Lima, who declined to be named, said the sector-by-sector numbers signaled another month of strong growth for Peru, which the government boasts is a beacon amid the battered economies of Latin America. “This (sector-by-sector data) would have given a September GDP growth number of around 6 percent,” the economist said. Asked if he agreed, INEI’s new chief Farid Matuk told Reuters the 6 percent growth estimate was “totally sensible –(perhaps) half a point up, half a point down.” The Economy Ministry last week forecast September GDP growth of 6.7 percent and 5.3 percent in October. The economist said his own forecast for September was for 5 percent growth.

CAN PERU KEEP IT UP?
Guillermo Arbe, chief analyst at the private Apoyo consultancy, said the figures were upbeat. “We have indicators that show the economy, above all that linked to internal demand, non-primary sectors, is growing …more than we expected … It’s encouraging,” he said. Peru is targeting 2002 growth of 3.7 percent after 0.2 percent last year. But the government admits the economy needs to grow faster yet to translate growth into jobs — Peruvians’ No. 1 concern and one of the reasons why President Alejandro Toledo’s popularity is down to around 20 percent in polls. But asked whether the big growth rates would continue at this clip, the bank economist said: “I think it’s over. We’ll still show growth but it won’t be as high in the last quarter. “A lot of the growth up until now has been because of a statistical bounce. September 2001 was one of the worst months there was,” he said. In September last year, the economy grew 2.7 percent. The economist said the positive effects of tax measures during the year, and of the giant Antamina copper and gold mine which began operations last year and gave the economy a push, were winding up. “I think we should end the year with growth of 3.5 to 4 percent. But next year’s a bit more complicated,” the analyst said. “There will have to be a lot of fiscal belt tightening.”

NEW-LOOK FIGURES NEXT YEAR
Matuk told Reuters the September GDP data would consist of a single figure without a sector-by-sector breakdown, and would be based on the same faulty methodology used for the past 15 years because there was no time to work out a new method. From 2003, INEI will issue a new-style aggregate figure –not the old GDP based on the faulty sums — while it works on improving the math and rebasing the index in order to provide more accurate, quarterly GDP numbers from mid-2003. Another senior INEI official said the agency would release the sector-wide data weekly from now on. INEI gave the following data:

Sectors Sept 2002 Jan-Sept 2002
Agriculture and farming 3.69 5.26
Fisheries 18.31 -2.04
Mining 2.80 14.97
Manufacturing industry 7.43 3.09
– primary industry -1.90 -2.50
– non-primary industry 9.75 4.65
Electricity and water 5.06 5.45
Financial services 9.65 15.57

(Additional reporting by Missy Ryan)
((Lima newsroom, tel
+511 221 2130, fax +511 221 2133, e-mail: lima.newsroom@reuters.com))

Peru says got GDP math wrong for 15 years

Posted in 3 Cables with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2009 by Farid Matuk

By Jude Webber

LIMA, Peru, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Peru has admitted it has been reporting its key economic indicator, gross domestic product growth, wrongly for the past 15 years and will publish only partial data from now on until it can correct its sums.  Farid Matuk, who took over as head of the government’s  National Statistics Institute (INEI) in August, told reporters late on Monday it had been a mistake to publish GDP data on a monthly basis since 1987, when every other country in the world except Canada and Finland published quarterly, because monthly figures contained a wide margin of error. Furthermore, he said the way the monthly figures were calculated had also factored in a “false illusion” of the performance of the service sector, meaning that the official data “was not solid” and could not be trusted.
 

INEI will therefore strip the service and trade segments out of its GDP numbers for the next few months, leaving a snapshot of the performance of only around half of Latin America’s No. 7 economy, which is worth around $54 billion on current reckoning and leans heavily on mining and fishing. “I can’t produce erroneous information. I’d rather partial data that is clear than full data that is murky,” Matuk said. While it rebases its index and sorts out its methodology, INEI will publish only what Matuk called “hard figures” on the detailed monthly output of goods in the primary and secondary sectors — agriculture, fishing, mining, manufacturing, utilities and construction — plus tax data. Data for trade and “other services,” which covers mainly transport, financial and public sector services will go.The first set of new-look figures, called “gross value added production,” is due out next week, for September. The government of unpopular President Alejandro Toledo says Peru’s economic performance is stellar in a crisis-wracked region, and is forecasting growth of at least 3.7 percent this year, compared with 0.2 percent in 2001. According to current calculations, GDP grew 3.8 percent in August and 4.1 percent in the first eight months compared with the same 2001 periods.

 

NEW 2001 BASE

Once INEI has sorted out its sums, it will switch to reporting complete GDP numbers, but on a quarterly basis. Matuk said INEI would revise its 2001 GDP data in the next few weeks, according to the current 1994 base year and method of reckoning. But it will not publish full 2002 GDP data – that will be up to the economy ministry and central bank.  He hoped that by July 2003, INEI would be ready to publish the total value of Peru’s economy, in dollar terms, according to a new 2001 base, followed by quarterly GDP data. That was likely to have a delay of six months to begin with. “There was a lot of resistance within INEI (to the new method of calculation),” Matuk said. “But either we perpetuate the fiction or we sort out the information, and I think sorting out the information is the right thing to do.”

Current GDP data uses information provided voluntarily by some 30,000 companies, but Matuk said INEI also had extensive data from household and employment surveys from nearly 40,000 homes nationwide that would help complete the picture. France’s national statistics agency is providing the software for the new calculations, and is sending a team of experts to Peru next month to help INEI get to work. Matuk said Peru was also working with other countries on a World Bank project to harmonize calculation of purchasing power parity by 2005 based on a basket of 4,000 universal goods.

 

 

((Lima newsroom, tel: +511 221 2130, fax +511 221 2133, e-mail: lima.newsroom@reuters.com)) REUTERS

Sat Nov 30, 2002 2:05 pm

Posted in 2002-11 Noviembre with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2009 by Farid Matuk

La dolce vita: Is Peru’s feelgood factor spreading?
By Jude Webber

PACHACUTEC, Peru, Nov 29 (Reuters) – President Alejandro Toledo
boasts that more Peruvians are going to the movies — a sure sign,
he says, that improving gross domestic product statistics mean la
dolce vita (the sweet life) is spreading.

Economists call it the trickle down effect — and trickle is the
word, say residents in Pachacutec, a sprawling shanty town of straw
and wood huts on the sandy hills sloping up from the Pacific Ocean
at the northern fringe of Peru’s capital.

“Things are gradually getting better. Two months ago I didn’t
have a job. Now I have some work … It’s not great but I can pay
for my daughter’s school,” said construction worker Emerson
Reategui, 42, on his way with a sheaf of documents to apply for
official property rights to his shanty town home.

“We’ve got to give Toledo more time to work. He’s made a lot of
promises. In Pachacutec we feel he’s keeping them slowly — but he
is keeping them in things like property rights, which he’s starting
to give, and job projects,” said Carlos Ricaldi, 28, in his small
but well-stocked store. “I see progress.”

Toledo, who took office in July 2001 promising more jobs and
prosperity, hails Latin America’s No. 7 economy as the region’s
darling this year, saying international markets made their feelings
plain by clamoring for a $500 million bond that Peru sold this week
to raise cash to plug its budget deficit.

Although the issue meant Peru beefing up its borrowing just as
Argentina’s multiple debt defaults and Brazil’s ability to manage
its $260 billion public debt have worried markets, economists were
cheered by the relatively cheap interest rates it won.

Peru expects its 2003 debt servicing costs to rise to $2.2
billion from around $2 billion now, but trumpets its nearly $10
billion in international reserves as a sign of solidity.

Indeed, the government is so delighted with the health of the
economy — illustrated by ever rosier performance reports, including
an official September growth figure of 7.3 percent — that it has
jacked up its 2002 GDP growth target to 4.2 percent from a previous
3.7 percent.

The acceleration comes after four years of economic woes and
political strife. GDP grew just 0.2 percent last year.
And the head of the government’s National Statistics Institute
said this week even those glowing figures were still too low. Farid
Matuk said methodology problems meant Peru had been “systematically
underestimating” its data for years.

Peru is hoping to parlay the good news into closer trade ties
when U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans visits next week.

MOVIES, CELLPHONES, SHOPPING
Toledo never tires of telling voters — many of whom are
underwhelmed by his progress in creating jobs in a nation where more
than half the people live on $1.25 a day — that he has sacrificed
his popularity for the sake of economic prudence.

The U.S.-trained business school professor, whose approval rating
has climbed nearly 10 points recently but is still only around the
mid-20s in polls, told reporters this week that rises in the numbers
of moviegoers, cellphone users and supermarket sales showed an
increasing feelgood factor.

“You may ask what (the economy) has got to do with the cinema?
Well, if you’ve got a job, you can go to the movies more,” he
said. “The economy is becoming more dynamic, people are buying more.
It’s slow but things are improving.”

At Peru’s top business forum this week, a partner at a
headhunting firm said trade was picking up, and executives said the
labor intensive construction sector was in full recovery.

But Peru is a country of big contrasts — only one in five people
in Lima do their shopping in supermarkets, as opposed to local
markets, and the gap between rich and poor still yawns.

“The levels of inequality have increased. There is more, but not
more for everyone,” Matuk said.
Elmer Cuba, economist at private consultancy Macroconsult, said
things were picking up slowly “but we still need stronger and more
sustained growth for real salaries to grow, and that process is
going to take years.”

Back in Pachacutec, one measure of quality of life is whether
residents still have plastic drums outside their homes and have to
wait for the water truck to trundle past or whether they can hook up
to new standpipes on their dirt streets.

Residents said European aid agencies or American evangelists, not
the government, had brought the water.
But they credit the government — which says it has created
160,000 jobs in state temporary work schemes — with giving them
jobs as street cleaners and park builders.

“I feel a bit better. Not that much, but I’m less afraid of where
I’m going to get food from than I was before,” said Angelica Azteca,
a 28-year-old housewife and mother-of-three, who spends 15 soles
($4.30) a day on food for her family.

But others were gloomier. “I feel just the same — it seems my
pockets are full of holes. Money goes in and out like water,” said
Luz Malaga, 54. “I think Toledo has good intentions, and that he’s
trying to do something. But don’t they say the road to hell is paved
with good intentions?”

(Additional reporting by Tania Mellado, Eduardo Orozco)
((Lima newsroom, tel: +511 221 2130, fax +511 221 2133, e-mail:
lima.newsroom@reuters.com))

Wed Nov 13, 2002 11:27 pm

Posted in 2002-11 Noviembre with tags , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2009 by Farid Matuk

Reuters 12-XI-02

 

(New throughout)
By Jude Webber
LIMA, Peru, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Peru’s National Statistics
Institute published sector-by-sector production figures for
September on Tuesday that analysts said proved Latin America’s
No. 7 economy was growing faster than expected — for now.
The government agency, INEI, said in a report production in
the manufacturing sector — vital for much-needed jobs growth
— rose 7.43 percent in September compared with the same 2001
month, while output in the nation’s traditional mainstays of
fisheries and mining grew 18.31 and 2.8 percent respectively.
Agriculture output rose 3.69 percent, it said. The agency
gave no comparisons for the data.
INEI said last month that the gross domestic product data
it had been releasing monthly for the past 15 years were
faulty, and said the new-look sector-by-sector figures would be
the only indication of monthly economic performance until it
had corrected its methodology and rebased its index next year.
One of the main problems with the old data was how the
services sector was calculated, and INEI had planned to strip
that out and issue an aggregate figure for the primary and
secondary sectors — chiefly mining, fishing and industry —
that make up around half the economy.
But in a U-turn on Tuesday, INEI said it had changed its
mind on issuing monthly GDP data because it had been impossible
to work out an accurate new aggregate methodology in time, and
would still issue an old-style September GDP figure next week.
One economist at a large bank in Lima, who declined to be
named, said the sector-by-sector numbers signaled another month
of strong growth for Peru, which the government boasts is a
beacon amid the battered economies of Latin America.
“This (sector-by-sector data) would have given a September
GDP growth number of around 6 percent,” the economist said.
Asked if he agreed, INEI’s new chief Farid Matuk told
Reuters the 6 percent growth estimate was “totally sensible —
(perhaps) half a point up, half a point down.”
The Economy Ministry last week forecast September GDP
growth of 6.7 percent and 5.3 percent in October. The economist
said his own forecast for September was for 5 percent growth.

CAN PERU KEEP IT UP?
Guillermo Arbe, chief analyst at the private Apoyo
consultancy, said the figures were upbeat.
“We have indicators that show the economy, above all that
linked to internal demand, non-primary sectors, is growing …
more than we expected … It’s encouraging,” he said.
Peru is targeting 2002 growth of 3.7 percent after 0.2
percent last year. But the government admits the economy needs
to grow faster yet to translate growth into jobs — Peruvians’
No. 1 concern and one of the reasons why President Alejandro
Toledo’s popularity is down to around 20 percent in polls.
But asked whether the big growth rates would continue at
this clip, the bank economist said: “I think it’s over. We’ll
still show growth but it won’t be as high in the last quarter.
“A lot of the growth up until now has been because of a
statistical bounce. September 2001 was one of the worst months
there was,” he said. In September last year, the economy grew
2.7 percent.
The economist said the positive effects of tax measures
during the year, and of the giant Antamina copper and gold mine
which began operations last year and gave the economy a push,
were winding up.
“I think we should end the year with growth of 3.5 to 4
percent. But next year’s a bit more complicated,” the analyst
said. “There will have to be a lot of fiscal belt tightening.”

NEW-LOOK FIGURES NEXT YEAR
Matuk told Reuters the September GDP data would consist of
a single figure without a sector-by-sector breakdown, and would
be based on the same faulty methodology used for the past 15
years because there was no time to work out a new method.
From 2003, INEI will issue a new-style aggregate figure —
not the old GDP based on the faulty sums — while it works on
improving the math and rebasing the index in order to provide
more accurate, quarterly GDP numbers from mid-2003.
Another senior INEI official said the agency would release
the sector-wide data weekly from now on.
INEI gave the following data:

Sectors Sept 2002 Jan-Sept 2002
Agriculture and farming 3.69 5.26
Fisheries 18.31 -2.04
Mining 2.80 14.97
Manufacturing industry 7.43 3.09
– primary industry -1.90 -2.50
– non-primary industry 9.75 4.65
Electricity and water 5.06 5.45
Financial services 9.65 15.57
(Additional reporting by Missy Ryan)
((Lima newsroom, tel: +511 221 2130, fax +511 221 2133,
e-mail: lima.newsroom@reuters.com))

Mon Nov 4, 2002 11:24 pm

Posted in 2002-11 Noviembre with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2009 by Farid Matuk

Aqui les paso una versi`on periodistica resultado de una entrevista
de dos horas a Reuters, Dow-Jones, Bloomberg y Gesti`on el martes 29
pasado. Creo que esta es una versi`on informada de las razones para
el obituario, y refleja adecuadamente las razones de la decisi`on y
las alternativas a difundir.

> > Peru says got GDP math wrong for 15 years (1)
> > Source: RTR_NA – Reuters North American Securities News
> > Oct 29 11:15
> > By Jude Webber
> > LIMA, Peru, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Peru has admitted it has
> > been reporting its key economic indicator, gross domestic
> > product growth, wrongly for the past 15 years and will publish
> > only partial data from now on until it can correct its sums.
> > Farid Matuk, who took over as head of the government’s
> > National Statistics Institute (INEI) in August, told reporters
> > late on Monday it had been a mistake to publish GDP data on a
> > monthly basis since 1987, when every other country in the world
> > except Canada and Finland published quarterly, because monthly
> > figures contained a wide margin of error.
> > Furthermore, he said the way the monthly figures were
> > calculated had also factored in a “false illusion” of the
> > performance of the service sector, meaning that the official
> > data “was not solid” and could not be trusted.
> > INEI will therefore strip the service and trade segments
> > out of its GDP numbers for the next few months, leaving a
> > snapshot of the performance of only around half of Latin
> > America’s No. 7 economy, which is worth around $54 billion on
> > current reckoning and leans heavily on mining and fishing.
> > “I can’t produce erroneous information. I’d rather partial
> > data that is clear than full data that is murky,” Matuk said.
> > While it rebases its index and sorts out its methodology,
> > INEI will publish only what Matuk called “hard figures” on the
> > detailed monthly output of goods in the primary and secondary
> > sectors — agriculture, fishing, mining, manufacturing,
> > utilities and construction — plus tax data.
> > Data for trade and “other services,” which covers mainly
> > transport, financial and public sector services, will go.
> > The first set of new-look figures, called “gross value
> > added production,” are due out next week, for September.
> > The government of unpopular President Alejandro Toledo says
> > Peru’s economic performance is stellar in a crisis-wracked
> > region, and is forecasting growth of at least 3.7 percent this
> > year, compared with 0.2 percent in 2001. According to current
> > calculations, GDP grew 3.8 percent in August and 4.1 percent in
> > the first eight months compared with the same 2001 periods.
> > NEW 2001 BASE
> > Once INEI has sorted out its sums, it will switch to
> > reporting complete GDP numbers, but on a quarterly basis.
> > Matuk said INEI would revise its 2001 GDP data in the next
> > few weeks, according to the current 1994 base year and method
> > of reckoning. But it will not publish full 2002 GDP data —
> > that will be up to the economy ministry and central bank.
> > He hoped that by July 2003, INEI would be ready to publish
> > the total value of Peru’s economy, in dollar terms, according
> > to a new 2001 base, followed by quarterly GDP data. That was
> > likely to have a delay of six months to begin with.
> > “There was a lot of resistance within INEI (to the new
> > method of calculation),” Matuk said. “But either we perpetuate
> > the fiction or we sort out the information, and I think sorting
> > out the information is the right thing to do.”
> > Current GDP data uses information provided voluntarily by
> > some 30,000 companies, but Matuk said INEI also had extensive
> > data from household and employment surveys from nearly 40,000
> > homes nationwide that would help complete the picture.
> > France’s national statistics agency is providing the
> > software for the new calculations, and is sending a team of
> > experts to Peru next month to help INEI get to work.
> > Matuk said Peru was also working with other countries on a
> > World Bank project to harmonize calculation of purchasing power
> > parity by 2005 based on a basket of 4,000 universal goods.
> > ((Lima newsroom, tel: +511 221 2130, fax +511 221 2133,
> > e-mail: lima.newsroom@reuters.com))
> > REUTERS