Home > Economic data > Quandl – a search engine for time-series datasets

Quandl – a search engine for time-series datasets

QuandlHomeQuandl has indexed over 7,000,000 time-series datasets from over 400 sources. All these datasets are open and free. The long term goal of Quandl is to make all the numerical data on the internet easy to find and easy to use (Quandl, 2013a).

You have to like a web site that gives you quick and easy access to oil prices, exchange rates, unemployment, world stock market indices, and Fama French factors. The screenshot below is from spot price for Brent crude oil (US Department of Energy, 2013)

Try scrolling down the Quandl home page to the “browse pages” section to get an overview of the coverage, and also look at the Quandl data sources page (Quandl, 2013b).

When using Quandl, like other web resources, you need to do a little work to check that the quality of the data is appropriate.

For example the oil price in the screenshot below is from the US Department of Energy, a reputable source, and if you want you could double-check with other sources – see Oil price – historical data (January 2011).  In contrast trying to find non-US stock prices can be tricky – for Unilever you tend to get the prices for US listings rather than the primary listing in Amsterdam or London (Unilever is dual-listed) and the NYSE Euronext figures jump around suggesting some conversion error (NYSE Euronext, 2013)

Oil price graph (Brent spot) (click to expand)

Oil price graph (Brent spot) (click to expand)

The “Data Sources” page (Quandl, 2013b) gives a good overview of the range of free datasets available through Quandl. The following list some of the major sources and some that look of particular interest to Business Research Plus readers (approximate dataset counts in brackets).

  • United Nations (2,100,000)
  • World bank (792,000)
  • Eurostat (321,000)
  • Federal Reserve Economic Data (61,000)
  • US Department of Energy (440,000)
  • UK Office of National Statistics (14,000)
  • Ken French (U Dartmouth) (25)

Quandl’s search often returns a long list of results and further filtering or revision may be needed. If you want to get 3 month treasury bill data from the Bank of England then a search “uk risk free rate” or “uk treasury bill” will not help because the series name is “End Month Level Of Discount Rate, 3 Month Treasury Bills, Sterling” (Bank of England, 2013).

Acknowledgements

Quandl was first mentioned on a couple of other business library blogs earlier this year (Datasets in Quandl, reposted Feb 2013) but at that time I didn’t explore further – thanks to the Warwick librarian who prompted this post – Quandl- freely available time-series data.

References

Bank of England (2103) End Month Level Of Discount Rate, 3 Month Treasury Bills, Sterling. Available at http://www.quandl.com/BOE-Bank-of-England/IUMAJNB-End-Month-Level-Of-Discount-Rate-3-Month-Treasury-Bills-Sterling  (Accessed: 05 November 2013)

NYSE Euronext (2013) NYSE Euronext – UNILEVER OS (UNIA). Available at http://www.quandl.com/NYX-NYSE-Euronext/XAMS_UNIA-UNILEVER-OS-UNIA (Accessed: 05 November 2013)

Quandl (2013a) Quandl > About > Overview. Available at http://www.quandl.com/about/overview (Accessed: 04 November 2013)

Quandl (2013b) Quandl > Data > Data Sources. Available at http://www.quandl.com/data/sources (Accessed: 05 November 2013)

US Department of Energy (2013) Europe Brent Crude Oil Spot Price FOB (Dollars per Barrel). Available at http://www.quandl.com/DOE-US-Department-of-Energy/RBRTE-Europe-Brent-Crude-Oil-Spot-Price-FOB (Accessed: 05 November 2013)

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