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EghtesadOnline: In only 3% of all countries, the central banks are responsible for collecting and publishing statistical information, the deputy head of the Statistical Center of Iran said.

"Honduras, Paraguay, Monaco, Eritrea and Libya are among countries that don’t have statistical centers so their central banks have been tasked with compiling and releasing official statistics," IRNA also quoted Javad Hosseinzadeh as saying. 

“The success or failure of a country’s central bank is contingent upon its performance regarding monetary policies and inflation statistics. The governors of central banks would be dismissed from their posts if they fail to achieve an expected inflation rate within a year or two. Obviously, the evaluation of their performance should not be based on the figures they have themselves released.”    

The long-running dispute over which authority, the Central Bank of Iran or the Statistical Center of Iran, should be responsible for releasing official statistics on monetary and macroeconomic indicators reemerged recently when CBI announced it would not publish its Consumer Price Index, until further notice, for the Iranian month Azar (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) in order to improve collaboration with SCI and reduce discrepancies between their data, Financial Tribune reported.

A week later, on Jan. 8, the Specialized Commission of the Statistical High Council, affiliated to the Plan and Budget Organization of Iran (to which the SCI is a subsidiary), announced that CBI does not have the mandate to disclose statistics on price indexes and national accounts, and must cease their publication to avoid duplicative and overlapping statistics. 

Mahmoud Cheloyan, CBI’s senior statistician, was quick in strongly rebutting the SCI announcement, saying that the central regulator will continue to fulfill its constitutional duties by publishing statistics. 

 

 

Data Discrepancy

SCI's latest inflationary report announced that the goods and services Consumer Price Index registered a year-on-year increase of 34.9% in the Iranian month Aban (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) compared with the similar month of last year whereas CBI put the YOY consumer price inflation at 39.9% for the same month. 

According to SCI, the overall CPI (using the Iranian year to March 2017 as the base year) stood at 147.8 in Aban, indicating a 2.6% rise compared with the previous month. The central bank says the overall CPI hit 153.6 for the same period to register a 3.5% increase compared with the previous month.

SCI says the average CPI in the 12-month period ending Nov. 21 increased by 15.6% compared with last year’s corresponding period. The central bank put the inflation for the corresponding period at 18.4%

According to Hosseinzadeh, the central bank does not take into account rural areas when calculating the Consumer Price Index. 

“CBI only refers to 39 cities while the Statistical Center of Iran surveys 357 urban areas and 365 rural areas to measure consumer inflation rate,” he said. 

The two bodies also publish different figures when it comes to economic growth.

The latest data published by SCI to date show Iran's economy experienced a 0.4% growth during the first half of the current fiscal year (March 21-Sept. 22) compared with last year's corresponding period. The center says the growth rate stood at 0.3% without taking into account the share of oil sector from GDP, adding that only the services sector experienced a 2.3% growth, while agricultural and industrial sectors saw contractions of 2.5% and 1.2% respectively.

CBI has yet to publish its own report on H1 economic growth.

As for previous quarterly reports on economic growth, SCI said GDP grew 1.7% during the first quarter of the current fiscal year (March 21-June 21) compared with last year’s corresponding period and a 1.9% growth excluding oil production.

The Central Bank of Iran put GDP growth for Q1 at 1.8%, including growth in the oil sector, and 0.7% excluding it.

The Statistical Center of Iran said “services” experienced the highest growth rate of 3.2% among the three major economic sectors; the “industry” group followed with 0.4%; as agricultural production shrank by 0.8%.

CBI said the services sector grew by 1.1% while the agriculture and industries, as well as mines sectors grew by 0.3% and 0.1% respectively.

For the first time, however, both institutions put Iran’s GDP growth at 3.7% for the last fiscal year (March 2017-18).

CBI has put 2016-17 growth at 12.5% while SCI says it was much lower and near 8.3%.

Growth in 2015-16 has been put at -1.6% by CBI and 0.9% by SCI.

 

CBI Statistical Center of Iran SCI central bank statistical information