CEIC: Download Data for International Research

Need macroeconomic data for more than 128 countries? CEIC offers metrics including GDP, CPI, Forex rates, imports, exports, retail sales, and investment as well as premium data for Brazil, Russia, India, and China, letting you match up and download data from multiple sources for further research.

The CEIC logo

Let’s say you need to compare India’s and Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) and quarterly imports from China from 1990 through 2015.

Log In

Note: CEIC is available on-campus only. 

Screenshot of the CEIC database listing at franklin.library.upenn.edu. An arrow points to the "Access restricted to on-campus only Connect to resource" hyperlink.

Start by using your on-campus computer or proxy to click through from the CEIC database listing in Franklin to the CEIC site.

Then click the purple Register now button to set up an account to store your preferences or click the teal guest access button to get right to the data.

A screenshot of CEIC messages about new features. Arrows point to "x" icons for closing the messages.

You may see notifications about new features after logging in. Feel free to click the small ‘x’ to close each message. 

A screenshot of CEIC's main sections. The left side is outlined and labeled "Left (warehouse)." The right side is outlined and labeled "Right (shopping cart)."

Now you should see the interface divided into left and right sections. Think of the left side as a warehouse that holds all available variables and the right side as a shopping cart where you put the variables you want.

Create a Series

A screenshot of CEIC's right side. An arrow points to the My Series tab.

Because you want to download your own time series data set, look at the right side and click My Series at the top. This will let you build a list of variables. You can choose output options later.

A screenshot of CEIC's left side. An arrow points to the Series category.

Next, look at the left side. CEIC provides several ways to organize variables. For example, the Databases option makes it easy to find metrics reported at the state or regional level (any Premium Database) for select countries or at a daily interval (Daily Database). You’ve been tasked with a less-granular question today, so select Series to list all series variables.

A screenshot of CEIC's left side with the Filter and Region dialogues open. Numbered arrows point to steps in filtering for the regions of India and Russia.

To view only metrics for India or Russia, look next to the search bar. Click Filters (1) then select the Region (2) drop-down. Check the boxes for India (3a) and Russia (3b) and click Apply filter (4). (If you don’t see the countries by default, you can use All options > Search in the filter window.)

You need GDP values to compare across time and currencies, so type real GDP USD in the purple search box at the very top of the left side. This will prioritize your list based on the terms you entered.

A screenshot of Series search results on CEIC's left side. The Real GDP 2014p: USD: Quarterly: India metric is expanded to show variable details. An arrow points to the carat that expands or collapses this variable.

Now you’re ready to select variables. The Series view (table on the left) lists all CEIC metrics that meet your criteria. Depending on your browser’s configuration, columns may list the country being measured, metric name, measurement frequency (e.g.: annual or quarterly), and more. Hover with your cursor or both hover and click the carat to display even more detail about each variable.

Click and drag Real GDP 2014p: USD: Quarterly: Russia into the right pane. Do the same for Real GDP 2014p: USD: Quarterly: India. These series should provide a good basis for comparing GDP over time.

A screenshot of CEIC's right side with four selected variables listed: Real GDP 2014p: USD: Quarterly: Russia; Real GDP 2014p: USD: Quarterly: India; Imports: Asia: China; Imports: USD: China.

Now change your search terms to imports China USD. Click-and-drag to add Imports: Asia: China for Russia and Imports: USD: China for India to the right side of the page. As pictured, you should have four metrics under My Series at this point; if you have more, check the box next to each extra variable and click the trash can icon to remove them from your list.

Review Footnotes

You’re almost ready to download data, but you may need to confirm exactly how real GDP values were compiled and calculated.

A screenshot of CEIC's top-level menu with Footnotes expanded. Numbered arrows point to the Footnotes menu option and both "Open" and "Open in a new tab" links within the expanded menu.

At the top of the page (above the search bar), click Footnotes (1) then your preference (Open or Open in a new tab) (2) to open a section of CEIC listing each metric.

Footnotes does not offer search or filtering but lists variables hierarchically, on the left side of the window. Click plus icons (1) to expand groups until you reach the section or metric you want to
better understand.

A screenshot of CEIC's Footnotes section. The menu is expanded to show World Trend Plus then Global Economic Monitor then National Accounts. Table: Real GDP 2014 Price: USD: Europe and Central Asia is selected, and details are displayed to the right. Numbered arrows point to the expanded menu items and selected table.

Note: You can find a similar hierarchy in the Databases view (mentioned above, in the Create a Series step). It may help to use filters and search to find your variable there first then retrace the hierarchy path in Footnotes.

Finally, click an item in the hierarchy (2) to display its details on the right side of the window.

Download

A screenshot of CEIC top right buttons. An arrow points to the Download button.

Back in CEIC‘s main view, click the green Download button at the top of the page to open a dialog for formatting your data extract.

Defaults often work well but you can customize output to meet your needs. For instance, you may want to change Format to CSV for general compatibility. Change Timeframe to Range so you can select the target years of 1990 through 2015.

A screenshot of the bottom left portion of CEIC's Download dialogue, under Data Transformation. Numbered arrows point to the Aggregate option, which is expanded, and to the Quarterly (Sum) option within the expanded menu.
A screenshot of CEIC's Download dialogue. The following options have been selected: Format is CSV; Timeframe is Range with dates 1989-12-31 to 2015-12-31; Data Transformation is Quarterly (Sum). An arrow points to the Download button.

Because you included both quarterly and monthly measures in your extract (see details in My Series), summarizing all measures by quarter might make comparison easier. Both GDP and imports metrics are provided as period totals by default, so you could convert any monthly totals into quarterly totals. To do this, look under Data Transformation, click the Aggregate (1) drop-down menu, and select Quarterly (Sum) (2).

Once your settings are ready, click Download to extract your data and save it to your computer.

View the File

A screenshot of downloaded CEIC data in a spreadsheet. A box surrounds column A and is labeled "Label." A box surrounds columns B through E and is labeled "Default." A box surrounds columns F through I and is labeled "Transformed."

Opening the downloaded CSV file in your favorite viewing tool will show that the file provides, from left to right, one column of labels (column A), one column for each metric at CEIC’s default summary level (columns B-E in this example), and one column for each metric after transformation (columns F-I).

A screenshot of downloaded CEIC data in a spreadsheet. A box surrounds the row labeled "Units," highlighting the different units used for different metrics.

Several header rows detail each variable’s attributes. The Unit line, for instance, shows that Russia’s imports are reported in thousands while the other variables are in millions. This indicates that you’ll need to convert units (e.g.: divide Russia’s imports values by 1,000) before comparing metrics.

A screenshot of downloaded CEIC data in a spreadsheet. A box surrounds the row labeled "First Obs.," highlighting the different earliest-available dates for different metrics.

Further down, the file provides summary statistics—including first observation date, mean, standard deviation, minimum, and maximum—for each variable. Historical coverage, as an example, varies by variable. First Obs. suggests that your study period may need to begin well after the year 2000.

A screenshot of downloaded CEIC data in a spreadsheet. Series of dates and values are visible. For some combinations of date and metric, cells are empty.

Finally, available observations are listed by date. Dates with no available data for any metric, by default, will not be listed in your downloaded file. An empty cell means the given metric was not available for that date period.

Consider the Possibilities

By selecting a few metrics and making minor transformations, you’ve taken data from three different sources, measured at two different intervals and created one unified, date-aligned econometric data set—not a bad start to your research!

CEIC offers many more measures that are just as easy to download, and the Lippincott Library’s subscription even gives access to select countries’ data at the hard-to-find regional or city level. (Look for Premium Database listings, like China’s or India’s, under Databases.) With such data at the ready, what else could you explore?

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