August 2008 GDP Estimates

Pub. Date
09 September, 2008
Pub. Type

Our latest GDP figures show that output fell by 0.2% in the three months ending in August after a fall of 0.1% in the three months ending in July. These figures are appreciably lower than we had anticipated last month on account of the downward revision to second quarter GDP growth published by ONS last month. Output was weak in June and base period effects therefore suggest that in the three months ending in September the rate of output fall may not be greater than the August figure. This is the first fall of output shown by our monthly GDP figures since the series starts in April 1996.

Our track record in producing early estimates of GDP suggests that our projection for the most recent three-month period has a standard error of 0.1-0.2% point when compared to the first estimate produced by the Office for National Statistics. This comparison can be made only for complete calendar quarters. Outside calendar quarters the figures are less reliable than this.

A paper describing the methodology used to produce the data was published in the February 2005 volume of the Economic Journal. From April until October 2006 our estimates were computed using the Index of Services published by ONS. However this monthly series shows considerable volatility which has caused us some problems in estimating GDP. From our November 2006 press release we have therefore reverted to using a model of private services output based on indicator variables. This means that, while all our figures for calendar quarters are fully coherent with ONS data, our estimates of monthly private service output are not. The series can be thought of as indicating the underlying value of the ONS series.

For more information please telephone Martin Weale on 020 7654 1945.