What Is the Economist Intelligence Unit?

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is an organization that provides forecasting and advisory services to assist entrepreneurs, financiers and government officials. The EIU provides country, industry and risk analyses based on the work, research and insights of a worldwide network of economic, political and business experts. Additionally, the EIU has a system of country specialists that provide country-specific insight and analysis.

Understanding Economist Intelligence Unit?

The Economist Intelligence Unit operates as an independent research and analysis business within the London-based Economist Group, the media company that publishes The Economist. It has provided services since 1946. Free access to certain reports and other information is granted on the EIU website; other reports and data are available for purchase or through paid subscriptions.

The EIU offers its clients detailed analyses and forecasts for 187 countries. Those clients can access certain data for free or purchase individual articles or complete country plans that provide access to a selection of economic and business information for a specific national markets. The service covers a country's economic and political outlook, credit risk, business environment and market opportunities, regulatory environment, and financing conditions.

Economist Intelligence Unit Consultancy Services

One of the EIU's specialties is consulting tailored to its clients' specific business intelligence needs. Among the services, it offers: Location benchmarking to help clients weigh political, cultural, geological and other factors for different countries. "We have helped companies to rank cities by their attractiveness to the car-rental industry, benchmarked the incentives offered in special economic zones for the technology industry and prioritized markets in Central America for a financial services firm," according to EIU.

Other consultancy focuses include political and socio-demographic forecasting for specific economies. "If you need to understand how political trends will affect regulations for your industry in Chile, how disposable income is changing for 30-35-year-old women in Poland or when a frontier market in Sub-Saharan Africa will become mainstream, we can help."

EIU also does data modeling and scenario analysis, helping clients plot sales data and predict business performance, as well as doing country and city forecasting: "If you need to know how quickly the US will grow over the next five years or what residential construction will take place in Saudi Arabia, we can help," according to the consultancy. "Or in Thailand, Algeria or Kazakhstan. But sometimes five years is not enough. Many of our clients have investment horizons measured in decades. Our proprietary methodologies let us look ahead 30 years or more, using frameworks you can understand and rely on."