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Can we really trust economic data?

Last week's revelation that the initial 2.4% increase in GDP in the US economy in the second quarter was actually more like 1.6%, after the government revised the figure downwards, further highlights the difficulties and dangers of trusting economic data around the world. So is it sensible to base economic and investment decisions on data which can vary so wildly?

The truth is there have always been amendments and adjustments to various economic indicators in the weeks and months after the initial figures have been released but due to the current volatile economic climate the swings are perhaps more pronounced than they ever have been. If you strip down the elements of the investment markets and economic forecasting groups around the UK what else do we really but the economic data released by governments and various trade bodies to rely upon?

There was some concern about the data released in the UK when the authorities realised there have been errors in past data but in reality these issues are very few and very far between. There's also the fact that you should not take one set of figures in isolation to arrive at your investment decisions or your investment forecast and instead look at the trend because "the trend is your friend".

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