Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Turkey Data Monitor: First Impressions

I wrote earlier that I had recently installed Turkey Data Monitor (TDM), an analytical database program for the Turkish economy. After having played with the program for a couple of hours, here are my first impressions. I have used both Ecowin and Harvey, similar services that provide data not just for Turkey, but for dozens of countries, so I can also offer comparisons, although the very high price tag of these two, with the weekly rate of those more or less equal to TDM's yearly subscription fee, ensures that they are in a different league.

First, I have to tell that I was instantly impressed by TDM's user interface: Easier to use than both Ecowin and Harvey. Moreover, I found the functions more than sufficient. In fact, there are a couple of functions neither has, such as looking at only selected months by choosing the appropriate columns with the control key- this is extremely useful for having a dirty look at seasonal effects. Moreover, ready-to-use graphs and tables, a feature which Ecowin and Harvey did not have, make life much easier for someone like me, who is not working as a market economist and does not want to invest a lot of time into preparing his own tables/graphs. They also seem to have seasonality-adjusted figures; since TURKSTAT does not do them, I am assuming they do it themselves. If I were a market economist, that wouldn't matter for me, but since my Eviews is giving me a hard time lately, I am sure to use that soon. BTW, that feature is in Harvey, but not in Ecowin.

In terms of coverage, I can not offer a just comparison, as I have not been using Harvey or Ecowin for a year and a half. But it has almost everything- all the data Turkish data that has importance to market economists or researchers alike are there. I mean, they don't have the TURKSTAT carbon emissions by city, but who cares:). Naturally, the international coverage of TDM is rather limited, since they are Turkey-specific. But they have managed to squeeze the basic fare in: They have the main stock indices, major policy and exchange rates, a couple of commodities (oil & gold) and a couple of market sentiment indicators (VIX & LIBOR). I think this should be enough not only for my purposes (training course, columns and blog), it would also be sufficient for most market economists. I mean, I had full access to Ecowin, but I almost never used the international data and when I did, it was mainly the US. So even the most demanding market economist can easily get by with TDM and St. Louis Fed's Fred.

One place where TDM lags behind Ecowin and Harvey is the speed of the data updates. They are much slower than those two, mainly because with them, you can update a series only when you are using it- in fact you can do that with TDM as well, but it does not make that much sense. If you'll only update the data once a month, you should press update all and then go to lunch, but you should be OK if you are updating every other day or so. And the TDM team has told me that the next version of the pr0gram will have much faster updates.

Before giving my overall verdict, I should say the obvious: I have no commercial interests with TDM whatsoever. Having got that out of the way, I highly recommend TDM for anyone who has anything to do with the the Turkish economy. It is easy to use even for non-economists, and with a price of a dinner at an expensive Bosporus "fishery" (compared to a decent car for Ecowin and Harvey), it is really a no-brainer...

If you want to know more, do not contact me:), contact Ozlem Derici, TDM's project manager, at, or

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