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Chain Fisher volume index Trade data - Fall 2002

With the release of Provincial Economic Accounts on November 7, 2002, we will be implementing the chained Fisher formula of calculating real GDP.

For trade data, we will be aggregating the 679 commodities to 57 commodity groups. These are the Input/Output (IO) defined 57 commodity groups. This does not alter the quality of the total trade estimate as the chained-Fisher estimates based on 679 commodities and those based on 57 commodity groups were shown to be similar.

The Income and Expenditure Accounts (IEA) include quarterly estimates of Canada's international trade broken down to trade in goods and trade in services, as defined on a Balance of Payments (BOP) basis. IEAD also publishes annual estimates of each province's international trade, with the provincial distribution of the trade commodities originating from the detailed commodity Input/Output system.

The total trade estimate obtained by summing the provinces equals the national published total trade on a BOP basis, however, the total goods and the total services do not sum to the national totals. This is due to the different classifications of goods and services between the BOP and the IO systems.

The following details why we will no longer publish the breakdown of goods and services; and for many of the same reasons we will no longer publish the breakdown of goods and services for inter-provincial trade data:

  1. The aggregation of commodities into goods and services is somewhat arbitrary and the allocation of the margins to either a good or a service is problematic;
  2. The definition of goods and services is not consistent over time, changing each time a new commodity classification is implemented, resulting in breaks in the series;
  3. These aggregations do not match the national Balance of Payments basis goods and services figures published quarterly;
  4. And, most importantly, given that we are aggregating to the 57 commodity groups and that many of the groups contain both 679 level goods and 679 level services; it would be difficult to group the 57 commodities into goods and services.