Data notes


Annual values are interpolated from decadal population figures from DNPM (1999) to 1990 and NSO (2002) for 2000 and projections from 2001 based on the 1980-2000 growth rate (2.7 per cent), the mid-range estimate of Bourke and Allen (2021).


For GDP data in current prices, 1976-1980 data is available from Goodman et al (1987), and 1980 to 2002 from BPNG (2007). From 1989 to 2006 we take information from the PNG Budget Database from successive budget volumes (Table 1 of Volume 1). Agricultural data 1980-2006 is taken from historical ADB PNG Key Indicators spreadsheets. In 2006, a new GDP series was created by NSO, increasing the 2006 GDP by 50 per cent relative to the old estimates. Data is available from NSO for the years 2006 onwards in the new series. Data for later years uses Treasury figures from the National Budget. Normally, for the last two years we use the budget (Volume 1) GDP estimates, which are consistent with the new series. We create two series: one, using nominal growth rates from 2006 onwards to extend the pre-2007 series forwards (GDPoldc); and two, using nominal growth rates from 2006 back to 1980 to extend the post-2005 series backwards (GDPnewc). Likewise, for pre-1980 series we rebase to the old series. The same method is used for GDP by sector, with the same sources (sectoral data available from 1980, whereas GDP available from 1976). BPNG (2007) notes a break in the series from 1994, it also notes that for the years 1994-2002 GDP excludes the imputed value for bank service charges. Unless specified otherwise, GDPnewc is used in the analysis. Note that earlier GDP data (from 1975-76 and earlier) is available from BPNG (2007). However, it shows high real growth (11 per cent) in 1983, which we are unable to find other evidence for. Therefore, we use Goodman et al (1987) current and constant price GDP growth data for the earlier years.

GDP data in constant prices is available from: Goodman et al (1987) for 1976 to 1983; BPNG (2007) from 1983 to 2002; Budget Vol 1 2003-2006; NSO (2006-onwards); and the latest budget Volume 1 (normally for the last two years). Data for GDP, non-resource GDP, agriculture and manufacturing are available (for GDP from 1976; for others from 1983). These series have different bases: 1976-1983 are in 1977 prices; 1983-1993 are in 1983 prices; 1994-2002 from BPNG (2007) and 2003-2006 from the budget are in 1998 prices; and 2006 onwards are in 2013 prices. The earlier years are rebased so that all GDP data is in 2013 prices (GDPnewk). To rebase, we need data for the cut-off years calculated in both old and new base prices. Goodman et al (1987) constant price growth rates up to 1984 are applied to the BPNG 1983 baseline (ie converted from 1977 to 1983 prices). ADB statistical indictors were located that report GDP for 1994 in both 1983 and 1998 prices. this allows conversion of the entire series up to 2006 into 1998 prices. Budget documents report 2006 at 1998 prices while NSO reports 2006 at 2013 prices. This allows for calculation of 2006 in both 1998 and 2013 prices, and thus conversion of the whole series to 2013 prices. Note that the rebasing in 2006 adjusts both for a different price base year, and for the rebasing of current price GDP.

The GDP deflator is the constant price GDP over the current price GDP (GDPnewc).

Sectoral GDP figures for “other” GDP is calculated as total GDP minus all other sectors included in the database. It is inclusive of taxes less subsidies on product.


Data on commodity volumes are available from BPNG (2007) from 1976 to 2005; QEB Table 8.4 for agricultural products, and Table 8.5 for logs, marine products and minerals/metals from 2006; BPNG (2007) notes a break in the series in 2001. The following commodities are covered: copra, copra oil, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, rubber, tea, marine products, logs, gold, silver, copper, nickel, cobalt, oil, and condensate/LNG.

Data on commodity values are available from BPNG (2007) from 1976 to 2005; QEB Tables 8.3 for agricultural exports, and Table 8.2 for logs, marine products and minerals/metals. The same commodities are covered as for quantities, except that “other agricultural produce” and “other forest products” are added, with data beginning in 1990. Marine products value data also begins in 1990. The total commodities value figure is the sum of all commodities covered in this database, which is equivalent to the total exports figure in QEB Table 8.2 after removing the value of refined petroleum products in QEB Table 8.3 from the total.

Other agricultural products and other forest products by value do not appear in BPNG (2007), but are relatively small in early years but larger in later years. Data on other agricultural products and other forest products appear in QEB Tables 8.3 and 8.2 respectively, and go back to 1990. Condensate and LNG figures are added together to attain the combined condensate/LNG figure. In BPNG (2007) the value of alluvial gold is included in the total gold figure, but from 1990 the figure for silver and alluvial gold value is calculated by taking the “total” minerals (resources) value figure and subtracting the value of the other mineral resources, as per notes in QEB Table 8.2. The value of other agricultural products includes a very small proportion of manufactured goods as per note (f) in QEB Table 8.3.

There is a break in series in commodity data from 2001 which reflects a reconciliation between BPNG and the Commodity Boards’ export figures. A comparison of the two volume series in 2001 shows that copra and copra oil volume figures are around half of what they were in the old series. Other commodity volumes have differences between series’ in 2001 ranging from -15 to 27 per cent. There are also differences in export prices series’, a comparison (in 2001) between the two series’ shows that copra prices are around 45 per cent higher in the new series. Copra values are around 40 per cent smaller in the new series, and 50 per cent smaller for copra oil. Other value differences range between -20 and 1 per cent. Metals and oil volumes and values are unchanged across series’.

Commodity export terms of trade are from the IMF, using shares of exports in GDP as weights.


Annual formal employment data is sourced via an index from BPNG (2007) from 1978 to 2005 and BPNG QEB Table 9.7 from 2006. Employment figures are averages for the year. Where annual QEB estimates are not available or are unreliable, the geometric mean of quarterly estimates is used.

Total employment as defined by this index excludes the public service but includes state-owned enterprise (SOE) employment. The indices are provided by sector (retail, wholesale, manufacturing, construction, transport, agriculture, financial, mineral) and well as total.

The series was rebased in 2002 to Q1 2002 (=100) (from Q2 1989=100) and therefore the earlier data required rebasing.

Employment numbers are available for 1968 to 1991 in Connell (1997) Table 8.2 for the public sector (total, public service, and SOEs), and the private sector (total, mining, agriculture from 1976 and manufacturing from 1979). This data is combined with the indices to provide numbers for these series throughout the period, except for the public service. More recent public service data is available from McGavin (1997) for 1992 to 1995, DFAT (2004) for 1999-2002 and Treasury (2020) for 2015-19.

Data on the weekly rural and urban minimum wage for 1972 to 2014 is provided in McGavin and Jones (2015, Annex 7.1) which runs from 1972 to 2014. This is updated from 2015 using QEB Table 9.1. There are some minor discrepancies between BPNG (2007) and McGavin and Jones (2015). The latter suggests that the minimum urban and rural wages were unified in 1992, while data from the former suggests that unification occurred first in 1993. Minimum wage data is for the end of the year.

Balance of payments

Merchandise exports and imports, service exports and imports (“invisible credits” and “debits”), net transfers and the current account balance are available from 1976 to 2005 in BPNG (2007) and from QEB Table 8.1B from 2002 onwards. We use the QEB data from 2002. “Invisible credits” and “invisible debits” are equal to the sum of services credits/debits and income credits/debits in the QEB Tables respectively. “Net transfers” are equivalent to “Transfers balance” in the QEB Tables. Provisional balance of payments data is not used because it subject to large revisions.

Foreign exchange

Nominal exchange rates (USD, AUD, Yen, UKP, Euro) are available from 1975. Up to 1990, we use data from BPNG (2007); post 1990, from QEB Table 8.11. Exchange rates are averages for the year (from 1995).

The Real effective exchange rate is available from World Development Indicators as variable WDI PX.REX.REER. It is an index with 2010=100. The variable is defined as follows: “[The r]eal effective exchange rate is the nominal effective exchange rate (a measure of the value of a currency against a weighted average of several foreign currencies) divided by a price deflator or index of costs.”

Foreign exchange reserves are taken from the World Development Indicators up to 2002 as variable WDI FI.RES.TOTL.CD (in USD and converted to Kina using annual exchange rates). From 2002, they are taken from the “total international reserves” column in QEB Table 8.10, which presents end of year data (in Kina and converted to USD using annual exchange rates). 2012 data is missing from QEB, and so WDI data is used for that year.

Foreign exchange reserves in months of imports is calculated using import figures from the Balance of Payments tab.

Fiscal data

Data on government revenue, expenses and borrowing comes from BPNG (2007) Table A27 for 1975-1988, and from the PNG Budget Database from 1989 onwards. Resource revenue equals mining and petroleum taxes plus mining and petroleum dividends.

Two expenditure variables are provided, (a) and (b). PNG switched its Government Financial Statistics (GFS) system for fiscal accounts from the 1986 to the 2014 GFS in 2016. Transfers into trust funds (see below) were included in the old GFS as spending from 2005-2011. Definiton (a) uses the old GFS data for as long as it is recorded, that is, until 2015. Definition (b) uses the new GFS data from when it is available (2012) and adjusts spending from 2005 to 2011 to exclude from spending net transfers into trust funds. The deficit variable is revenue minus expenditure (b). Expenditure includes net lending.

Resource revenue data is from BPNG (2007) from 1975 to 1999 and the PNG Budget Database from 2000 on. It does not include interest earned in the MRFS (see below) but captures the sum of company tax and dividend withholding tax paid by mining and petroleum firms, other mining and petroleum taxes and mining and petroleum related dividends received by the government.

Trust fund balance is the MRSF (Mineral Resource Stabilisation Fund) from 1975 to 1998 (the last year with a non-zero balance) from BPNG (2007). From 2005 onwards trust fund balances are obtained from the 2018 final budget outcomes document. 2019 trust fund figures cannot be reconciled with 2018, and are small, so the series is discontinued in 2018.

Non-resource (own) revenue is calculated up to 1998 by removing MRSF inflows to the budget (“Payment to public account from MRSF”) from total revenue and also removing aid. The MRSF was abolished in 1999 and funds were used to retire debt. From 1999 non-resource (own) revenue is calculated by removing resource revenue from total revenue and removing aid. It follows therefore that total revenue pre-1999 is non-resource own revenue, aid, and MRSF inflows, and that, from 1999 onwards, total revenue is non-resource own revenue, aid, and resource revenue.

Development spending data comes from BPNG (2007) up to 1989 after which the PNG Budget Database is used. From 2014, the new GFS accounting system did not include the development budget. Development spending is available but is referred to as capital investment (funded by GoPNG, grants or loans). Capital spending is also available, referred to under the new system as the net acquisition of non-financial assets. Infrastructure tax credits are no longer reported and no longer contribute to revenue and expenditure in the budget from 2016 due to new GFS standards.

Government employee compensation data uses the PNG Budget Database and is only available from 1989. A second series is added from 2012 which includes salaries for employees of statutory organisations. The final figures will slightly underestimate salary spending in 1998, and from 2002 to 2006 as during this period salaries data was not reported for Bougainville.

Data for DSIP funding is collated by Laveil (2021) and derived from Fraenkel (2011) till 2010, and Treasury budget data from 2011. The figure represents total DSIP funding for all open MP’s.

Net lending/borrowing equals changes to cash balances minus net foreign borrowing minus net domestic borrowing. Data comes from BPNG (2007) up to 1988, and afterwards from the PNG Budget Database. From 2005 to 2011, the cash balance is the annual change in the trust fund balance. Post-2012 the change in the cash balance is recorded in the line item “net acquisition of financial assets”. Net lending/borrowing may not always exactly equal the negative of the deficit (expenditure minus revenue). 

The stock of government debt (total, domestic and foreign) is from this ADB spreadsheet (Batten, undated) up to 1989, QEB Table 7.3 for 1990-1998, and the PNG Budget Database for 1999 onwards.

Other than as detailed in relation to the two expenditure measures, figures using the 2014 GFS are used when both are available.

Only actual fiscal data are included, i.e not budget figures, revised estimates or forward estimates.

Monetary data

BPNG reports CPI (headline and by expenditure group) for 1977-2013 with 1977 as the base year (QEB Table 9.2) and for 2010-2019 with 2012 Q1 as the base quarter (QEB Table 9.4). We rebase the series, using 2012 Q1 as the link quarter to align with current QEB Table 9.2 data, and also rebase using 2010 as the link year. As a result, we have CPI from 1977 at a single base year 2012. Note that BPNG (2007) also has CPI data 1977-2005, they use 1977 Q2=100.

The World Bank also reports annual headline CPI inflation rates from 1971 onwards as variable FP.CPI.TOTL.ZG, which are reported with 2010 as the base year. The constructed series is consistent with the World Bank figures.

Sectoral CPI deflators are available from BPNG (2007) from 1977 to 2005, and QEB Table 9.4 from 2002. There are minor differences between the two series. BPNG (2007) is used until 2001, and QEB Table 9.4 thereafter. From 2010 new deflators were introduced for transport, communication, health, recreation, education, restaurants and hotels, and miscellaneous. These deflators replace two categories – “transport and communication”, and “other”, which are discontinued in 2013.

Data on the liquid asset ratio (“total approved liquid assets” over “total deposits and other prescribed liabilities”) and minimum liquid asset requirement or MLAR are available from BPNG (2007) from 1976 to 2005 and from BPNG QEB Table 3.13 from 2002 onwards. We use QEB data from 2002 onwards. (There is a discrepancy in 2002). From June 1999, the liquid asset ratio excludes cash reserve requirement deposits held at BPNG, and in October 2010 the MLAR was reduced to zero (see the notes to QEB Table 3.13).

Lending rate (“weighted average advances”) and deposit rate (“weighted average deposits”) are available from BPNG (2007) for 1976 to 2005 and from BPNG QEB Table 6.1 from 1990 onwards. There are a few years in which the data does not match. We use BPNG (2007) up to 2005, and thereafter BPNG QEB.

Deposits, loans to the private sector (domestic), foreign currency loans to the private sector, and loans to the private sector and SOEs (domestic) are available from BPNG (2007) and QEB Table 3.6 (deposits) and Table 3.7 (loans). Monetary deposits equal “all deposits” plus “central government liabilities”. Loans to SOEs include a small amount of loans to the central government and provincial and local governments, but are mainly loans to public nonfinancial corporations. Government debt held by banks is from BPNG (2007 Table A12) and QEB Table 3.3 (sum of treasury bills and inscribed stocks). Foreign loans to the private sector are shown separately, and not included in the “domestic” variables.

Volume of money figures are available from BPNG (2007 Table A8) up to 2005 and QEB Table 1.5 from 2002. Figures differ between the two series for M1 and M3. We use BPNG (2007) up to 2001, and QEB Table 1.5 thereafter. Currency in circulation and bank assets and liabilities data are taken from BPNG (2007 Table A9, A10, A11, A12, A13 and A14) and QEB (Tables 2.2, 2.3, 3.6, 3.7, 3.16 and 3.17).

Calendar v fiscal year

The calendar year is used unless specified. PNG changed its accounting period in 1978. From 1 January 1978, the calendar year was used. Prior to this the July-June financial year was used. Flows from the 1975–76 and 1976–77 year are reported as 1976 and 1977, respectively. (This method slightly exaggerates growth in 1978 since it compares Jan.-Dec. 1978 with Jul. 1976-Jun. 1977.) Stocks at the end of 1975–76 and 1976–77 are reported as 1975 and 1976, respectively, and the end of December 1977 is used for 1977. This is used for fiscal and GDP data. It is also assumed that this is the way that commodity and BOP data are calculated. Monetary stocks and minimum wages are generally end of year (December) figures.


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