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IMF - International Financial Statistics Data Browser - Help

Data and Statistics

Last Updated: December 28, 2009

IFS Online - Help

Key Topics

» » » » » » » » » » System Overview Browsing the IFS Directory Tree Changing the Period Setting Retrieving Series Output Formats Retrieval Options Search Downloads, Help, and Show Selected Series Icons Naming Conventions for IFS Time Series Additional Helpful Hints and Information Close this window

System Overview

The IFS Online system was developed based on the IFS CD-ROM Browser product, and many of the functions are quite similar. The IFS Online provides subscribers with the same data coverage as the IFS Browser product. The IFS database contains approximately 32,000 time series covering more than 200 countries and areas and includes all series appearing on the IFS Country Pages; exchange rate series for all Fund member countries, plus Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles; major Fund accounts series; and most other world, area, and country series from the IFS World Tables.

In this Help document Online refers to the screen above.

The Country, World, and Commodity Prices Tables, as presented in the monthly printed copy of IFS, are available as selection options. The Economic Concept View provides a cross-country view of the concepts in the IFS by individual or groups of countries.

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Capabilities of IFS Online

IFS Online includes capabilities for the following:

browsing the directory tree, drilling down through the structure of the database, selecting either individual time series or groupings of time series within a table presentation, saving selected data and metadata in a variety of formats, including a spreadsheet and saving and loading a query of selected time series.

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Browsing the IFS Directory Tree

The IFS directory tree is browsed using an expanding tree mechanism. Initially, only the first level of the directory hierarchy is displayed. Each item at this level is represented with a file folder. Any item within this level can be further expanded by double clicking it, which will cause the next level of the tree for this item to be displayed beneath it, and so on, for each level in the tree.

The database icon signifies either a cross-country grouping of series or a grouping in a standard presentation that may be selected, and combined with series from another grouping. Clicking on such an entry will cause a selection box to the right of the tree display to be filled with a list of time series, from which individual time series or groups of series may be selected. To select more than one country and/or series you can, in certain instances, hold down the Control (CTRL) key and move up and down with your directional keys or mouse to select additional items. Back to top

Changing the Period Setting

To change the frequency or period of data observations that are to be retrieved, click on the Retrieval Period Change button in the upper left corner under the Browser button. The dialog box that appears contains fields for single or multiple frequency settings and will expand to display additional boxes for high or low frequency, start period and year, and end period and year.

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To set a retrieval period containing dates of only a single frequency, make sure the Single Frequency setting is selected, select the desired frequency, and then adjust start and end periods and years accordingly. Valid frequencies include annual, quarterly, and monthly. To set a retrieval period containing dates of more than one frequency, click on the Multiple Frequency setting. The retrieval period dialog will expand to include additional boxes for specifying the order of the dates and to display the period setting for each frequency. For each frequency of dates to be included in the retrieval period, select the desired frequency, start and end period, and years as noted above. Simply click on the Next button to enter each desired frequency and then be sure to click on Save at the end of your selections. Back to top

Retrieving Series

Retrieving Individual Series

Once the desired economic concepts and/or countries have been highlighted in the far right selection box, the individual series may be selected (illustrated examples of this procedure follow later in this document) by following these steps: 1. First, if you are using the Country Tables view, click on the Continue button, or if you are using the Economic Concept view, click on the View/Select Available Items button; 2. Click on the Check button to select all available items, or click each of the desired items individually; 3. Click on the Add button (which appears as a plus (

+) sign).

This will cause the selected series and associated metadata to be added to the Currently Selected Series Box (viewable by clicking on the magnifying glass symbol at the top right of the screen). These series may be combined with series from another entry in the tree directory, by making selections and following the three steps outlined above. Once all the desired series have been selected and placed in the Currently Selected Series Box, any unwanted series may be deleted, by clicking on the minus (-) sign. Output the series by clicking on the Retrieve button located to the right of "Series" and selecting an output format. Click on the Retrieve button again. This will create a file in accordance with the options that are set on the Options button, including requested metadata fields and data values for all periods for which data are found in the underlying database. If a series does not exist at all within the underlying database, then a blank row will appear. Retrieving an Entire Table Once you have expanded the directory tree of the Country Tables, World Tables, or Commodity Prices views, the "Selection Table" Retrieve button is shown in blue (indicating it is available). Clicking on this button will

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cause an entire table to be selected. For certain topical areas, such as balance of payments and government finance statistics, the table frames (e.g., country pages) include the full list of possible concepts for the topic. This does not mean that all concepts listed in the table exist for every country. When a table is retrieved, there may be rows for which only the time series code and table descriptor exist; this means that the time series does not exist for the country selected. Country Tables The Country Tables of the International Financial Statistics (IFS) provide access to time series for a particular country through a collection of tables that correspond to the country pages in the monthly IFS publication. Often, the relationship among individual series can be inferred from the table; for example, indentation is typically used to indicate that a group of series are components of a summary series. Not all tables exist for all countries and generally the contents of any particular table differ from country to country. This Country Table selection supports the retrieval of either the entire table or selected series from the table. To retrieve results for the Country Tables, see the example below.

First, choose the country of interest. In this example we have chosen Aruba. After you have selected the country, simply click Continue. You will then have an opportunity to check off which series codes and subjects you wish to obtain information about, or click the Check button to select all items as shown in the examples below.

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Choosing the Check All button, as shown below, allows you to pick all the items in that list.

Using the Add Series icon (+), shown below, to add all checked series to the selected series list, whether you wish to choose only specific series or all series.

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After you confirm the Currently Selected Series as displayed in the pop-up window, simply click on the X next to Close in the upper right-hand corner of the window to close it.

Now you are able to create output files with the selected series by clicking on the blue Retrieve button on the far right portion of the Online screen. When that button is used you will then have the option to choose what Output Format you desire. You may choose as many formats as you would like. You also can name the file using the Description field noted below the Output Format options. Since this system is real-time and each report is dynamic, please be patient for the few seconds it takes the system to display your results. Some formats will display faster than others, such as Excel. An example of this screen can be found below following the explanation of Output Formats. Back to top

Output Formats

The output formats available in IFS Online include Comma Separated Value File (CSV), Microsoft Excel File, HTML File, and TAB Delimited File. These formats allow for a table structure similar to that of the IFS Browser on CD-ROM product. The structure is based on the browser interface selections and options, and is displayed using the chosen file format listed above. The metadata items precede the time series observations and are based on the defaults plus any additional metadata fields specified from the Options button. When a table is retrieved, there may be rows for which only the time series code and table descriptor exist; this means that the time series does not exist for the country selected.

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After selecting the appropriate Output Format, naming the files and choosing to Save or Remove the files, select the blue Retrieve button on the far right side of the Browse screen. The results will appear as displayed below.

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Retrieval Options

A number of options are available to control the selection of data. To access any of the following options, click on the Options button as shown below.

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(DATA FINDS YOU is no longer available and will be removed from the IFS Online interface in a pending release.) CONSTRAINTS: Constraining the Display of the Directory Tree The presentation of the IFS directory tree can be limited to specific countries or specific subject topics by setting constraints on the Options button. This option is set by clicking on the Options button, selecting Constraints, then selecting one or more of the countries listed in the Restrict By Country box and/or one or more subjects in the Restrict By Subject box, and then clicking on the Save button. This will cause the current constraints to appear in the box directly below the Constraints box. If the constraints do not fit within the visible portion of the box, then a vertical scroll bar will appear at the right of the box to enable viewing of the constraints. All constraints may be removed by clicking on the Delete button. Setting Constraints can be a useful way of narrowing in on the data that is desired for one or more countries and/or subjects. METADATA Metadata is information about a time series contained in separate fields that are mapped to fields in the underlying database. These fields, which may be selected for inclusion in the output file, are described in the table below.

Field Name Begin Period End Period Update Date Base Year Country Country Code Data Source Data Type Descriptor Fiscal Year End Description The first year for which the series exists in the source database. If blank, then the series does not exist. The last year for which the series exists in the source database. If blank, then the series does not exist. The date the series was last updated in the source database. The base year for an indexed series, stored as a four-digit year. The country or country group associated with a series. The country is either derived from the country code contained within the series code or provided when the source database is registered. The three-digit numeric country code associated with a series. The source database for a series. Indicates whether the data is observed as "Average", "Flow", "Stock" or "Unknown" data. A textual description or label for the series. If the English Descriptor in the database is blank, the national descriptor is used instead. Three-character month abbreviation indicating the month in which fiscal year data end. The partner country associated with a series, applicable for direction of trade data and to denote claims or liabilities on partner countries.

National Descriptor The descriptor for the series in the national or official language of the country. Partner Country

SCALE: Scaling Observation Values

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Clicking on the Options button and selecting the desired choice within the Scale Options box may adjust the scaling of observations to be retrieved in the spreadsheet. This allows data values retrieved to be stored and displayed with a common magnitude, e.g., units, thousands, millions, billions or trillions. The value of the Scale metadata field is also changed accordingly, to match the scale in which the data are actually stored and presented within the spreadsheet. No scaling is applied to the observation values of series that are identified as index numbers, growth rates, percent changes, etc. If no scale option is specified in the Scale Options box, then by default, the magnitude of the series as specified in the underlying IFS database will generally determine the scaling that is applied to the observation values. ORIENTATION / GROUPING: Selecting and Creating Output Orientation and Grouping Options Wherever multiple countries or concepts may be selected, you can control the order in which they appear in the output file, i.e., sorted by Country or by Concept, with data going across the columns or down the rows. Click on the Options button and select Output Orientation and Grouping Options. Make the appropriate selections based on your requirements and then be sure to click Save. Restore to system default settings AND Save settings for future sessions To automatically retain all changes to option and retrieval period settings in future sessions, click on the Options button and then check the Save Settings for Future Sessions button on the bottom right of the screen. This process will also automatically save your Retrieval Period Settings. To restore the default option and retrieval period settings, click on the Restore to System Default Settings button on the bottom left of the Options screen. Back to top

Search

Searching IFS Database Using Time Series Codes

To Search the IFS database using time series codes (time series names),

Click on the Search button Enter desired strings including wildcards in time series key sub-fields, according to Naming Conventions for IFS Time Series (listed toward the end of this document) or select the desired country, subject, and/ or partner country from the drop-down list Click on Search button to return list of time series matching wildcard specification Select the desired series within the list of found series Click on Add (+) to add the series to the Currently Selected Series box.

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Downloads, Help, and Show Selected Series Icons

Recent Downloads

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By selecting the Recent Downloads Icon in the far right corner of the Browse screen, the user is able to see a list of the data recently retrieved using this program. Below are two screens, one that identifies where to locate the Icon and the second providing an example of what information appears when that item is clicked.

Online Help

The Online Help Icon is located to the right of the Recent Download icon on the far right of the Browse screen. And, as you have found, this provides the user with Help on the IFS Online system. If further assistance is desired, please send an email to [email protected]

Show Selected Series

By selecting the "Show Selected Series" button, which is the magnifying glass shown above, you can verify what Series you have chosen for your output. This item is always visible. When you choose that Icon the following screen will appear. You may delete any items or add any items at any time during your session.

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Naming Conventions for IFS Time Series

The following describes the meaning of the thirteen-character IFS time series code, as an aid to locating data. IFS time series codes provide information about the time series that supplements the text descriptors. Positions 1-3 of the code refer to the country and/or area; positions 4-8 refer to the subject; position 9 refers to the time series revision version; position 10 refers to the data source; and positions 11-13 refer to the partner country (e.g. for Direction of Trade data) or the commodity market country/region, if relevant. Illustration of an IFS time series code: 1. The code 23867R..zf... can be broken down by position, as illustrated below.

Position 1-3 4-8 4 5 6-7 8 9 10 11-13 Subject Topic Subsection Classification Qualification Publication Partner country/commodity market 6 7 R. . f ... interest rates, prices, production or labor labor unemployment rate none first IFS none Description Country Code Code 238 Costa Rica Translation

Version Code or Govt Finance Sector z

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Description of codes used in IFS, by position below

Positions 1-3: Country/Area Codes

The first three positions of an IFS time series identify the country or area to which the time series data relate. The term "country" does not always refer to a territorial entity that is a state as understood by international law and practice; the term also covers the euro area and some territorial (nonsovereign) entities, for which statistical data are provided internationally on a separate basis. The country/group code always consists of three numeric digits. The regional and analytical groups for the IFS world tables typically include world (001), advanced economies (110), emerging & developing economies (200) which is further broken down to Africa (605), developing Asia (505), Middle East (405), Western Hemisphere (205) and Europe (170) which contains two sub-groups: central and eastern Europe (904), and CIS and Mongolia (901). Also, fuel export earnings (080) and nonfuel export earnings (092) groups are included in many tables as memorandum items. Users are encouraged to consult the online Country and Area Codes file for country/area codes.

Position 4: Institutional, topical or subject area

Position 4 of the time series key identifies the institutional, topical, or subject area of this series, as indicated below. Note that for several subject areas, position 5 further identifies which subject.

.(dot) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 a or c 9 exchange rate, Fund position, or international liquidity central bank/monetary authorities other depository corporations/deposit money banks depository corporations survey/monetary survey other financial corporations/other banking/nonbank financial institutions financial corporations survey/banking survey interest rates, prices, production, or labor international transactions government finance (a for accrual and c for cash basis) national accounts or population

Position 5: Subsection specification

Monetary Statistics For monetary statistics (i.e., beginning with the topic codes of 1-5), beginning with the April 2009 issue of IFS, there are two presentations of monetary statistics. The first presentation is the new presentation of monetary statistics published in the IFS Supplement on Monetary and Financial Statistics, which was discontinued in March 2009. The second presentation is the traditional, albeit outdated, presentation published in IFS. Please refer to the IFS introduction for additional information on the presentations. The subsection code of the time series code can specify one of the following subsections: New presentation for monetary statistics (subsection codes):

0 1 2 4 5 6 7 claims on the central bank claims on nonresidents and net foreign assets claims on domestic sectors and net claims on central government liquid monetary liabilities including components of monetary base, currency in circulation outside of banks, and transferable deposits other deposit liabilities (non-transferable) of the financial system liabilities excluded from the national definition of broad money, including deposits, securities, loans, financial derivatives, and insurance and technical reserves shares and other equity due to owners and other items net

Traditional presentation for monetary statistics (subsection codes):

0 1 2 4 5 6 7 reserves foreign assets domestic credit liabilities included in definition of money liabilities included in the definition of quasimoney non-monetary liabilities capital and unclassified liabilities

Interest Rates, Prices, Production or Labor (subsection codes) Under the topic Interest Rates, Prices, Production or Labor (i.e., beginning with the topic code of 6), the

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subsection code can specify one of the following:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 interest rates bond yields share prices wholesale prices consumer prices earnings production labor

International Transactions (subsection codes) Trade data are a subset of the international transactions (topic code 7), and use the following subsector codes:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 exports imports volume of exports volume of imports unit value of exports unit value of imports export prices

Government Finance Statistics For government finance statistics, the subsection refers to the classification system as explained in the Government Finance Statistics 2001 Manual. Reference: (www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/gfs/manual/index. htm; see Appendix 4: Classification, on the bottom of the website).

Positions 6-7: Classification

The classification codes, when present, provide classification distinctions. For example, for production indicators, alphabetic codes may identify specific production statistics, such as:

AA AB AG AL BX C EY KR T TA TB ZE ZX crude petroleum refined petroleum copra total fish catch agricultural copper manufacturing gold tourist arrivals # of tourists # of tourist nights energy mining

For labor market data, the following classification codes in position 6 are used:

D E C R labor force employment unemployment unemployment rate

The sixth and seventh positions can also identify specific commodity market prices such as:

DR KR RR WX aluminum gold steel plywood

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U N I

bananas rice sugar

Position 8: Qualification

The qualification code provides information about special characteristics of the data. It may indicate a statistical procedure, an institutional identity, a level of government, or the currency of the data observation. The list below summarizes these qualification codes:

.(dot) A B C D E F P Q R S T U X Y Z national currency (n.c.) data or unadjusted data seasonal factors seasonally adjusted by IMF seasonally adjusted by reporting country U.S. dollars transactions in convertible currencies U.S. dollars, seasonally adjusted constant prices (unadjusted) constant prices (seasonal factors) constant prices (seasonally adjusted by reporting country) SDRs indicates a comparable time series that requires more than one magnitude SDRs, seasonally adjusted exchange rate index; percent change over corresponding period of previous year price quotation or unit value in n.c. units price quotation or unit value in U.S. dollars

These qualification codes are also used depending on the subject area as follows:

For deposit money banks, the qualification codes provides institutional breakdowns as follows:

H I R U other monetary institutions post office private sector Euro Area-Wide Residency

For non-bank financial institutions, the code is used to distinguish types of institutions that are generally as follows:

F G, H, I, J K, M, N, O L, S X finance and securities companies savings institutions development institutions insurance companies trustee accounts

For interest rates, the qualification code F specifies rates on instruments denominated in foreign currency. For price indices and wages, the qualification code plus the second position of the classification code, indicated as XX, specify the percent change over previous period. For production, the qualification code I appears in the industrial production series for 22 industrial countries, to indicate non-seasonal adjustment.

Position 9: Version Code or Government Finance Sector

A one-position alphabetic code is used to identify the revisions of concept and content of a time series and is identified by Z [the first (earliest) version]. It could also, in combination with the 10th position, indicate the government sector (BA for Budgetary Central Government, CG for Central Government and GG for General Government).

Position 10: Publication Code

A one-position alphabetic code in position 10 of the time series code, used to identify the IMF publication containing the series. All series in IFS contain publication code F, except:

for certain euro area series (which contain the code W for euro-denominated data), for the "Standardized Report Forms" (SRFs) series for those member countries that have commenced the reporting, on a regular basis, of monetary data that accord with the methodology in the IMF's Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual (MFSM), 2000. These series contain the code k in position 10, and for government finance time series, in combination with the 9th position, it indicates the sector (BA in 9th and 10th positions indicate Budgetary Central Government, CG indicate Central Government, and

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GG indicate General Government). Back to top

Additional Helpful Hints and Information

Deleting Series

To delete an individual series from the Currently Selected Series box, highlight the unwanted series and press the delete key. The delete button appears as a minus symbol in a blue box.

Commodity Prices Tables

There are two tables associated with the Commodity Prices. The first table represents data that are the market prices reported for important commodities traded internationally, in units of quantity frequently used in the respective commodity markets, expressed in U.S. dollars. The second table represents the same data expressed as indices.

Economic Concept View

The Economic Concept View provides a high-level summary of the data contained in IFS. This view allows the retrieval of similar concepts across a number of countries, to the extent that they exist.

Not All Requested Data are Retrieved

If some of the data that was requested are not retrieved within the spreadsheet, check the Frequency and Period Setting. It may be that the requested series in the database does not exist for the requested frequency, or if it does exist at the requested frequency, does not exist for the requested period. A blank in these fields means that the series does not exist at this frequency. Close this window

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