What does it mean when partner trade data in Direction of Trade Statistics (DOTS) are estimated?

Estimation occurs if a reporting country does not report trade with its partners countries for a specific period.  Some of the basic rules for estimation are as follow:

          - In the absence of some or all of the monthly DOTS, quarterly or annual reported DOTS are used.

- If quarterly data are available, then they are distributed over the relevant months using (1) the available monthly DOTS reported for other partner countries, (2) IFS monthly totals, or (3) an even distribution.

- If only annual data are available, then estimation procedures include, in addition to the techniques described above, DOTS reported from the most recent annual report or extrapolations of the most recent data or estimates. Where possible, estimates are computed first for months, and then annual totals are obtained by summation.

The DOTS dataset can be found here.

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