HILARY JOFFE: Lies, damned lies, statistics - and 'complete nonsense'

19 July 2020 - 00:09

How do we know what's really going on in the economy in an environment which has no precedent, one in which traditional methods of gathering statistical data often aren't feasible? As economists do these days, UBS Global Wealth chief economist Paul Donovan opened his remarks on the global economy with a lengthy but blunt disclaimer. "Nearly all the economic data we're getting is complete nonsense," he said on a webinar hosted by London-based One to One Children's Fund, whose work in SA is currently focused on getting personal protective equipment to health workers in the Eastern Cape.

Most of the data was survey-based and no sensible person fills in a survey in the midst of a pandemic, said Donovan. "We are seeing real problems with data quality at the moment; and our forecasts are hampered by the fact that we are really not sure where we are now."..

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