Statistical offices have often recourse to benchmarking methods for compiling quarterly national accounts (QNA). Benchmarking methods employ quarterly indicator series (i) to distribute annual, more reliable series of national accounts and (ii) to extrapolate the most recent quarters not yet covered by annual benchmarks. The Proportional First Differences (PFD) benchmarking method proposed by Denton (1971) is a widely used solution for distribution, but in extrapolation it may suffer when the movements in the indicator series do not match consistently the movements in the target annual benchmarks. For this reason, an enhanced formula for extrapolation was recommended by the IMF’s Quarterly National Accounts Manual: Concepts, Data Sources, and Compilation (2001). We discuss the rationale behind this technique, and propose a matrix formulation of it. In addition, we present applications of the enhanced formula to artificial and real-life benchmarking examples showing how the extrapolations for the most recent quarters can be improved.
The Q&A in this issue features seven questions about Large Fiscal Consolidation Attempts in the Past and Implications for Policymakers Today (by Fuad Hasanov and Paolo Mauro). The research summaries are "Booms and Busts" (by Roberto Piazza) and " Did Export Diversification Soften the Impact of the Global Financial Crisis?" (by Rafael Romeu). The issue also provides details on visiting scholars at the IMF (mainly from September through December 2011), as well as recently published IMF Working Papers and Staff Discussion Notes.