National Accounts at a Glance 2013

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National Accounts at a Glance presents information using an "indicator" approach, focusing on cross-country comparisons. The aim being to make the national accounts more accessible and informative, whilst, at the same time, taking the opportunity to present the conceptual underpinning of, and comparability issues inherent in, each of the indicators presented. 

The range of indicators reflects the richness inherent in the national accounts dataset and encourages users to refocus some of the spotlight that is often placed on gross domestic product (GDP) to other economic important indicators, which may better respond to their needs.  The publication is broken down into six key chapters, and provides indicators related to GDP, income, expenditure, production, government and capital respectively. Data are generally provided for the period 1998-2011.

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The purpose of saving is to increase future resources available for consumption and to protect against unexpected changes in income. Saving in its simplest terms is very similar to the concept of saving commonly used by the man on the street. It reflects the amount of disposable income that remains after final consumption expenditures, and that is invested – be that in financial assets, such as bank deposits or shares, or non-financial assets, such as real estate. Its importance is therefore paramount in many areas such as: analyses of the sustainability of consumption patterns; or the scope of governments to stimulate demand or raise taxes. Government saving is also an important indicator in a budgetary context. The Golden rule, for example, that government saving should be zero over the course of an economic cycle is often set as a fiscal objective.

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