"down from 2.4 per cent in the year to the end of December"

Acyang

Member
Chinese - China
I read an article and there is a sentence I can't understand.

"The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday reported annual growth edged down to 1.8 per cent for the past year, down from 2.4 per cent in the year to the end of December."

What does the second half of this sentence mean? What time does the "in the year to the end of December" mean?
 
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    'in the year to the end of December' is clarifying which time period they are talking about. These sort of calculations can be made across all sorts of periods. For example, they might say: inflation is down 3% in the year to the end of April/the end of June/the end of September. You might read this information in May, August or October and it tells you that the calculation is not completely up-to-date; it was calculated a few months earlier.

    However, in your sentence I'm confused as to which time periods they are comparing.
    The 1.8 per cent is about 'the past year' – does that mean the whole of 2018; or 2019 up to July (now)? Past year suggests it means 2018.

    Frankly, I would expect it to mean that growth so far this year (2019) is down from the growth statistic for last year all the way up to December 2018 (the whole year, in other words). But it doesn't quite seem to say that unambiguously.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I agree that it is not phrased in a way that is sufficiently unambiguous.

    Annual growth statistics are typically evaluated more frequently than annually. For example, it could be monthly, in which case, if the report is recent, "the past year" could mean the period from July 2018 to June 2019, and they are comparing the growth for that period with the growth for "the year to the end of December" which would be the period from January 2018 to December 2018).
     

    Acyang

    Member
    Chinese - China
    'in the year to the end of December' is clarifying which time period they are talking about. These sort of calculations can be made across all sorts of periods. For example, they might say: inflation is down 3% in the year to the end of April/the end of June/the end of September. You might read this information in May, August or October and it tells you that the calculation is not completely up-to-date; it was calculated a few months earlier.

    However, in your sentence I'm confused as to which time periods they are comparing.
    The 1.8 per cent is about 'the past year' – does that mean the whole of 2018; or 2019 up to July (now)? Past year suggests it means 2018.

    Frankly, I would expect it to mean that growth so far this year (2019) is down from the growth statistic for last year all the way up to December 2018 (the whole year, in other words). But it doesn't quite seem to say that unambiguously.
    This article was published on June 5, 2019, so I guess the past year means 2018. I'm wondering if it's possible that 2.4 per cent is the anuual growth of 2017? Could it mean that the annual growth edged down from 2.4% to 1.8% during 2018?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    so I guess the past year means 2018
    I don't think this is possible, because if in June you refer to the year to the end of December, I don't see how that can refer to anything other than the most recent December, which is December 2018. Therefore "the year to the end of December" must be "the year 2018", and "the past year" must be something else, and from context it must be more recent. I suggest that it is the year to the end of May (i.e. June 2018 to May 2019).
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    What accounting year is being used? Since it seems very odd to me to use "the year to the end of December" when "2018" was meant, my guess is that "the year to the end of December" means from July to December, since the financial year in Australia begins on July 1st.

    Growth in the first half-year (July to December 2018) was 2.4%. Growth in the full year (July 2018 to June 2019) was 1.8%.

    Edit: I've just noticed this:
    This article was published on June 5, 2019
    If it really was June 5th and not July 5th, then my reasoning does not really make sense.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    "The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday reported annual growth edged down to 1.8 per cent for the past year, down from 2.4 per cent in the year to the end of December."

    As the report was published on 5th June 2019, the year in question will be 1st June 2018 to 1st June 2019, and this is compared with 1st December 2017 to 1st December 2018.

    This is a rolling annual rate in which the annual rate, as per the start of each month, is calculated.
     
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