Handbook of International Economic Statistics, 1997

The Handbook of International Economic Statistics, 1997 continues to evolve reflecting the creation of new nation-states and the realignment of economic groupings. Changes stemming from the collapse of the former Soviet Union continue to impact on the format of the HIES; we include data on the 15 independent nations of the former Soviet Union but data on the east European countries has been reduced. The major groupings for most tables, with the exception of aid, are OECD and ``Other''.

Purpose and Scope
The Handbook provides basic worldwide statistics for comparing the economic performance of major countries and regions. In general, the data in the Handbook are for 1970, 1980, and individual years in the period 1990-96. Data for the presented countries have been adjusted, where necessary, to achieve comparability and therefore may differ from data presented in original sources. Footnotes have been used liberally to give definitions, exceptions, and methodology. The base year for average annual rates of growth is the year prior to the stated period.

Presentation of Data
In general, zeros appearing after the last non-zero number following the decimal point are not significant but are computer generated.

The abbreviation NA (not available) is used when data do not exist or when information about the existence of the data or the magnitude of the data is not available. The abbreviation NEGL (negligible) is used when the magnitude of the data is less than one-half of the final unit employed in the table.

The data given for the most recent years are frequently preliminary and subject to revision. The data for countries presented are official data from the country cited, CIA estimates, or estimates made by other organizations.


Constant Versus Current Dollars
Estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) are presented in 1996 US dollars. In contrast, foreign trade figures are presented in current dollars, that is, in dollars of the year to which the figure pertains.

GDP Methodology
Estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) estimates are based on purchasing power parity (PPP) calculations rather than on conversions at currency exchange rates. PPP dollar estimates are calculated by applying standardized international dollar prices to a country's output of goods and services and are the best measure for international comparisons of GDP. The GDP data presented in this publication represent the latest available estimates for individual countries, regional groupings, and world totals. GDP figures are frequently revised and vary according to the source and/or date of estimate. Consequently, some of the GDP data reported in this publication may differ somewhat from data presented in other Agency publications-including the 1997 edition of The World Factbook-because of different cutoff dates in researching and compiling the data.


The following definitions are used in the Handbook unless otherwise indicated in the text:

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)--Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

European Union (EU)--Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Big Six--Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

Big Seven--the United States and the Big Six.

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)--Algeria, Gabon, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

Newly Industrializing Economies--Brazil, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, and South Korea. Data on Hong Kong is being phased out.

Unless otherwise indicated, the definition of less developed countries used for the economic and military aid tables conforms to that used by the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD and other aid agencies and includes the following countries (1) all independent countries of Africa except the Republic of South Africa, (2) all independent countries of Asia except Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam, (3) all independent countries in Latin America, except Cuba, (4) all countries in the Middle East, and (5) Malta, Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Turkey.

In addition, the Central Intelligence Agency produces annually The World Factbook, a basic reference of 267 nations and other entities which includes reference maps. Each national entry gives the latest available information under the headings of Geography, People, Government, Economy, Communications, and Defense Forces. This publication may be obtained wherever the Handbook of International Economic Statistics is available.