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GDP estimates: Sunday Times - 5 May 2011

Letter for publication in response to article in the Sunday Times on 5 May 2011
 

Dear Sir,

Your reporter Robert Watts alleges that the preliminary GDP estimate published on 27 April underplays the strength of the economy. In Support, his article reports a quote from Mr Michael Saunders of Citigroup 'the ONS has a clear track record of revising GDP growth up after the first quarter'. This is factually incorrect.

ONS publishes on its website every revision made to each successive estimate of GDP back to 1961. An article published at the end of 2009 showed that the average bias of revisions since 1993, from preliminary estimate to that made two years later, was 0.05 per cent, i.e. a twentieth of a percentage point, as near to zero as anyone could reasonably expect. The position has not changed materially since.

Joe Grice
Chief Economist
Office for National Statsitics
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