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TitleHow To: Navigate Moody’s Analytics’ Global Historical Data
AuthorMichele Musacchio

How does Data Buffet organize global (international, cross-country) data so that I can locate and compare major indicators?


Economic datasets are never simple. For a single indicator within a single country, there will be alternative sources, surveys, frequencies, and adjustments. Between countries your choices multiply. Where do you start looking?

International data are located across the following catalogs within Data Buffet:

  • Global Concept
  • Over 50 single-country catalogs (Argentina through Vietnam)
  • Cross-Country Datasets

Start with our Global Concept Catalog, which consolidates a limited set of major indicators under consistent concept codes – with a simple wildcard you retrieve data for multiple countries. For more detail, use one of our many single-country catalogs, which gather high-frequency, low-lag data from national sources. If your quarry’s not there, resort to Cross-Country Datasets, which contains international sources such as Eurostat and the OECD; these have broad geographic coverage and consistent concept codes but lower frequency and a greater lag.

Visibility of catalog will vary by subscription.  You may also see catalogs labeled "Global," "Global Macro" and "International Monetary Fund," but they can be ignored.

1. Global Concept Dictionary

When faced with multiple datasets which seem to measure a similar concept, such as employment, how do you pick one?  To guide you we have chosen the key series for each dataset and country and given them consistent aliases, so that you can pull data for multiple countries using one concept code and geo wildcard.  For example, the following expressions in a basket will each retrieve the corresponding headline series for multiple countries:

Wildcard Description Countries
ET.? Total employment 7
IP.? Industrial production 76
PPI.? Producer price index 81

The Global Concepts catalog contains series selected from our single-country (part 2) and international organization (part 3) catalogs, but organized and aliased to help find key series by sector and country.  This catalog contains only top-level indicators and the results of these wildcards will depend on your subscription level.  For more detail or country-specific indicators, please browse our single-country catalogs.

Please note that indicators from different countries are not guaranteed to be compatible.  For example, they might be both labeled "consumer price index" but are constructed differently.  Please examine the description on each series or consult Mnemonic 411 to make your own evaluation of suitability.

2. Single-Country, Nationally-Sourced Catalogs

National-sourced data are time series we harvest from primary sources responsible for compiling and disseminating official data.  These include national statistics agencies, central banks, government ministries and private industry groups.  The data are often updated at a high frequency and a short lag (relative to the publications by international organizations (part 3)).  These catalogs provide more detail than the Global Concepts catalog (part 1), including breakdowns by age, sex, commodity and industry.

3. Cross-Country, International Organization-Sourced Catalogs

The "Cross-Country" catalog contains datasets published by international sources: Eurostat, the IMF, OECD, World Bank and others.  These datasets cover many sectors and concepts and are standardized across many countries.  As such they are useful to conduct global comparisons; however, the datasets tend to be published at lower frequencies and with longer lags than the national-sourced data.  For more immediate performance, combine these datasets with those from the single-country catalogs (part 2).