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EIU, EcoWin to Create New International Economic and Financial Database
by
Posted On November 5, 2001


The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a world leader in country analysis and macroeconomic forecasts, has teamed with EcoWin (http://www.ecowin.com), a Web-based provider of economic and financial time series, to develop a database of indicators and forecasts on major and emerging markets. Perhaps best known for its print products (e.g., Country Reports), EIU will integrate EIU DataServices (http://www.eiu.com/data), its international economic and financial forecast and historical data, with EcoWin's flexible time-series data. The Windows-based platform will better serve the needs of busy networked executives by providing a single source for retrieving, charting, and analyzing the latest market data and forecasts.

Capitalizing on their strengths, both EIU and EcoWin, plus their subscribers, will benefit from this venture. The Economist Intelligence Unit's quality forecasts will be enhanced by access to current economic statistics from EcoWin, whose database is updated throughout the day as new data is released. While EIU is best known for its country economic forecasts, EcoWin offers a wide range of historical, international financial and economic data time series. The initial press release describes the service as breaking new ground, providing "consistent and well-laid-out forecasts and data in one place."

The Economist Intelligence Unit, part of The Economist Group (publisher of The Economist), operates a global network of analysts who continuously assess political, economic, and business conditions in 195 countries. EIU DataServices consists of the following three products:

  • CityData—EIU's city-by-city guide to product prices and business costs in 123 cities around the world
  • CountryData—An analytical database of worldwide economic indicators and forecasts that allows users to compare annual and quarterly data on 117 countries worldwide across 270 economic series, access data on 117 major economies (updated monthly), view text summaries of EIU's short-term political and economic forecasts on 181 countries, and see trend graphs (1980-2001) 
  • CountryIndicators—A guide to market size and growth potential for the world's 20 largest economies. Two hundred and fifty data series provide a picture of country market size and growth potential for 60 major markets worldwide with 5-year forecasts, including data on industries, demographics, consumption, average wages, income levels, infrastructure, and local business environments.
According to Mike Chapman, EIU's executive producer, subscriptions will remain available for each product individually or for the package, at a discount, even after the new venture is launched.

In addition to accessing the Economist Intelligence Unit's forecasts directly from its online store (http://store.eiu.com), the DataServices portfolio is available in different formats through its partners—displayed in Excel spreadsheets with full analytics via Alacra, formerly known as Data Downlink (http://www.alacra.com), or from Bureau van Dijk (http://countrydata.bvdep.com). Now EcoWin will provide time-series analytics as well.

The EcoWin database offers 30 years of historical data online. Its extensive collection of macroeconomic and financial time-series data covers 86 countries as well as regional aggregates. Data is collected directly from over 200 international primary sources, such as national statistics offices, central banks, business survey organizations, and financial exchanges. EcoWin's software interface and sophisticated analytical tools facilitate graphical presentation of time-series data.

EcoWin has developed a unique Chart Service (http://www.ecowin.com/charts.asp) that graphically demonstrates interesting developments in different economies, permitting country comparisons with established benchmarks. Users can select a country and a category (central bank, GDP forecast, industrial production, inflation, labor market, markets, trade) and click "GO" to view the series of available charts. An in-depth explanation about the intent of the service, along with tips about how best to utilize it, are provided.

A Web-based platform that offers one-stop shopping for historical economic data and forecasts worldwide has become the key to success for several entities. Just last spring, Data Resources (DRI) and WEFA (formerly known as Wharton Economic Forecasting Associates) merged with Primark Decision Economics, DAFSA, and Primark Poland to form Global Insight, Inc. (See the May 14 NewsBreak at http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=17595).

These joint ventures, partnerships, and mergers make sense for the following reasons:

  • They offer a single source for both economic and financial statistics from around the world rather than having users access a favorite site for economic data and another for financial data.
  • They provide a comprehensive approach to gathering statistical data that covers as many countries as possible, which means not having to find sources for data and forecasts for each country.
  • There's no need to know the primary sources within each country, determine which is most reliable, or figure out how to obtain the latest releases from governmental agencies. 
  • Users receive access to historical economic and financial time-series data and forecasts from one service.
  • They include quality forecasts for a large number of countries, linked to a common view of the world's economic situation, and a consistent global (and regional) model(s).
  • Users have access to both data and text that help put the forecasts into context.
  • Windows-based software provides easy retrieval of data elements from a vast warehouse.
  • Tools for charting and graphing data further enhance analysis.
  • Users have access to all services via one Web site.
  • They offer a range of diverse and flexible subscription plans to meet the needs of individuals, corporations, governments, and educational institutions worldwide.
Founded in 1994 and marketed primarily in the Nordic countries, EcoWin began to expand its presence in Europe by opening a London-based sales and support office in 2000. Earlier this year, the company opened an office in New York. This new venture with EIU will give the firm access to EIU's 500,000 customers worldwide vs. the 400 customers (1,500 users) it has at present.

[A comprehensive review of international economic forecasting services ("Economic Statistics and Forecasting Data via the Web: A Master List," by Barbie E. Keiser) can be found in the November 2001 issue of Searcher.]


Barbie E. Keiser is an information resources management consultant located in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area.

Email Barbie E. Keiser
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