Saturday, July 25, 2009

Debt Clock: Calling on Nerds

Anyone got a basic idea for how to put a debt clock for Ireland on the blog, namely a simple image that updates in real-time showing how much the country owes?

8 comments:

Kevin Denny said...

Too depressing.

Martin Ryan said...

I guess the first question is where do we get this information from? And then, how often do we get it?

In relation to the private-sector, the Central Bank stats come out on a monthly basis. The May figures indicate that "private-sector credit (PSC) continued to fall in May, declining by almost €1 billion, following April’s €1.8 billion decline."

"The annual rate of increase in PSC slowed to 0.8 per cent in May... this is the lowest annual rate of increase since the series began."

"Residential mortgage lending was €18 million lower - the second consecutive month of decline. The annual growth rate was down to 2.6 per cent in May, an historic low."

None of this is probably much surprise, and the real interest for a clock is probably to do with public sector borrowing? The information here must depend on bond/security issuance? (Which are normally done on a weekly basis, though not every week?)

If I remember correctly, Colm McCarthy said on the news (the day the Bord Snip report was published) that the country is borrowing 600 million euro a day. I may remember this figure incorrectly, but anyway - it was probably a daily average of recent bond/security issues?

Leigh Caldwell said...

Hi Liam

I can provide the technical bit - I can write a Javascript function which will continually update the display with the appropriate figures, and Blogger will allow you to create a new widget displaying it (use the "HTML/Javascript" widget from the Basic set).

What you'd need to provide is:
- A starting figure (stock of debt)
- A starting date
- A rate of change (annual or monthly deficit)

As the rate of change (and the stock) change over time, you'll be able to update these figures accordingly.

Of course the figures are approximate and subject to revision, so the clock may jump about every so often. If you think the clock needs to be 'smoothed' to avoid misleading people with discontinuous jumps in debt, that can be factored into the algorithm too.

Liam Delaney said...

400 million a week Martin not 600 million a day. Illustrates perfectly the need for a debt clock. The purpose of a debt clock is so that people are helped make tradeoffs more accurately when they are proposing public spending changes.

Liam Delaney said...

Sure Leigh - Ill send something in a little while. Thanks

Keith said...

Something like this? You get the information from the CSO and NTMA, Martin. The Central Bank Quarterly report will also contain figures on Irish debt.

Randeg said...

This is what I got in my website but it is for the US debt. Maybe once you know who presents the Irish debt, you will be able to figure out how to change the following:

I put it down here but I received a message my html could not be accepted. Sorry.

Evelyn Guzman
http://www.debtchallenges.com (If you want to visit, just click but if it doesn’t work, copy and paste it onto your browser.)

Liam Delaney said...

looks like we were beaten to it Keith! Still, would be nice to have a blog version. There was an article in the Times yesterday. Eamon Gilmore suggest having an unemployment clock beside it.

Times Article

Discussion of Debt Clock