BIS to host Irving Fisher Committee on Central Bank Statistics

10 January 2006

Press release

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) announced today that it has agreed to provide the Secretariat for the Irving Fisher Committee on Central Bank Statistics with immediate effect. The Committee is a forum of central bank economists and statisticians which has operated informally since 1997 under the auspices of the International Statistical Institute (ISI).

The decision, endorsed by central bank governors attending the BIS All Governors Meeting yesterday, reflects the fact that statistical data and related methodological issues are becoming increasingly important to central banks, from the perspectives of both monetary and financial stability.

BIS General Manager Malcolm Knight said today, "The BIS believes that the Committee's work is of clear interest to the international central banking community. We are therefore pleased to host its Secretariat". He added, "This is a natural extension of other services the BIS provides to the central bank statistical community, including the BIS Data Bank and the collection of the International Financial Statistics."

In welcoming the decision, the Committee's Chairman Jan Smets, Director at the National Bank of Belgium, said that he felt it would enhance the Committee's contribution to international cooperation by central banks over the longer run. Mr Smets noted that the Committee already had a number of initiatives planned, including a workshop on consumer price indices in April and a conference on the measurement of the financial position of the household sector in August. It will also contribute to a conference organised by the International Association of Official Statistics in September and organise various meetings at the 56th Session of the ISI to be held in Lisbon in 2007.

Mr Smets, who is also an alternate BIS Board member, said "We invite central banks worldwide to become institutional members of the Committee. I trust that the BIS shareholding central banks will want to make a particularly active contribution to the Committee's work". He said that he looked forward to enhanced cooperation between the Committee and other Basel-based groups on various statistical issues, as well as to continued interaction with the ISI and its different committees.