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Only 11 people know Q1 GDP a few hours ahead of official release

Autor: Sorin Pâslaru

12 mai 2011 155

Only 11 people know a few hours in advance the value of the mostawaited indicator in Romania, set to be released today: the GDPgrowth in the first quarter of 2011 against the fourth quarter of2010. 10 of them are members of the Department of National Accountswithin the Statistics Institute, and the 11th is the president ofthe National Statistics Institute, Vergil Voineagu.

The GDP progression in the first quarter, which is publishedtoday by the Statistics Institute as a preliminary figure, pendingfurther revision depending on data emerging in the future, iseagerly expected by almost the entire Romanian economy, but most ofall by politicians. Both President Traian Băsescu and PrimeMinister Emil Boc announced there was a chance of the economyrecording growth in the first quarter of 2011 against the fourthquarter of 2010.

The announcement will be made today at 9:00 a.m. to 300journalists through an email sent to them by the so-called DataDissemination Service within the Statistics Institute, withjournalists under embargo, i.e. not allowed to publish the datauntil 10:00. The calculations are completed 24 hours ahead at thelatest, but sometimes the latest necessary data can come as late astwo hours before the index is sent to the press, explainrepresentatives of the institute.

The date of the GDP release is eagerly awaited: if there is aneven 0.1% rise, the government will say the economy is out ofrecession. Technically, two consecutive quarters of GDP declineindicate that an economy is in recession, which is what happenedwith the Romanian economy in the fourth quarter of 2008 and thefirst quarter of 2009. The reverse is not true, i.e. two quartersof growth do not amount to an exit from recession, but media andpublic expectations have been created around this, so the indicatorwill firstly have psychological importance, which means a lot foran economy, experts say.

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