Economic Data freely available online
Compiled by John Sloman, Economics Network
Last updated 25th November 2013
Here are some links that you may find useful for accessing statistics and other information. Datasets that require you to pay or register are on a separate page along with pointers. (Note that some free datasets that require registration are also listed below.)
Printing out this page
If you print out this page, the URLs will appear alongside each individual link.
- A. UK sites for data
- B. International sites for data
- 5. European Central Bank Statistics
- 6. European Economy
- 7. OECD Statistics Portal (including OECD Economic Outlook)
- 8. World Bank data sets
- 9. IMF data sets
- 10. WTO international trade statistics
- 11. UNCTAD statistics
- 12. Bank for International Settlements
- 13. Principal Global Indicators
- 14. NationMaster
- 15. Gapminder
- 16. CIA World Factbook
- 17. Index Mundi
- 18. FRED: Federal Reserve Economic Data
- 19. EconStats from EconomyWatch
- 20. Find the Best
- 21. DataMarket
- 22. Knoema
- 23. Quandl
- C. Market data
- D. Portal sites with links to other sites
The following three sites are the main ones for accessing free data (mainly macroeconomic) on the UK economy. The sites also contain some international data.
For those familiar with the old National Statistics site, the new site, launched on 27 August 2011, may seem hard to navigate. ONS has recognised these difficulties and has now improved the site navigation and the format of the datasets and introduced redirects from old links.
There have been some significant improvements to the site. For example, most of the content can now be downloaded as Excel files. The following provides some guidance on where you can find data from the huge range of resources available.
In addition to the Home Page, there are three main sections to the site: Browse by theme, Publications and Data.
On the Home Page, you can find the latest statistical releases, a range of headline statistics and links to related sites.
In the Browse by Theme section, you can select topics at three levels. At the top level there are 11 topics from which to choose, including Economy and Labour Market. At the next level there are several sub-headings within each broad topic. Thus in "Economy" you can find topics such as Price indices and inflation and National Income, Expenditure and Output. Then within each topic you can choose between Summaries (normally viewable online, with tables and graphs downloadable in Excel and/or the whole summary downloadable as a PDF), Publications (either viewable online or downloadable as a PDF), Data (normally downloadable in Excel and often available in separate datasets), and Guidance and Methodology. In all cases the publications are sorted chronologically, with latest first.
In the Publications section, all publications are listed in chronological order, latest first. Most are downloadable as PDFs. Given that there are some 8000 publications, you will probably want to filter them first. You can do this by theme (the 11 top-level themes referred to above), by release date, by geographical coverage: national, regional or local. You can also sort by publication type: book, journal, article, report, statistical publication or release. You may still end up with a lot of choices, and so if you know the name of the publication you want, you would probably be better to use the search box at the top of the screen – but even this can still produce a great number of hits. For example, if you search 'Blue Book' you get over 400 hits. At this point you may well want to use some of the filters, such as 'by release date', and/or sort by type of publication.
In the Data section there are three ways of finding data. The first is to use the search box, where you can use publication title, dataset name or date. You can also search by the unique four digit code for a dataset, but unfortunately this only brings up the publications where you can find the dataset, not the dataset itself. You can also find data by listing reference tables or datasets and sorting them by date or alphabetically and filtering them theme, date, coverage or geographical breakdown. Reference tables are from publications and can be downloaded as Excel files. Datasets can also be downloaded in Excel, CSV or other formats. You can also select individual series from large datasets by choosing 'Select series from this dataset' from the green panel at the top right of the screen. You can also download series into Navidata 3.1, the ONS's own software that can be downloaded free of charge.
The latest statistical stories from the ONS are available as a webcast on YouTube at:
UK Data Explorer
You can explore some of the economic time series data on the ONS site on the UK Data Explorer site.
From the home page you can get charts of headline economic indicators, construct customisable charts from a range of data, access various interactive maps and get some useful tips on finding data from the ONS site.
You can also you can create a customised dashboard of economic indicators.
Finally there is a very easy to use clickable list of all the main ONS series, such as the United Kingsom Economic Accounts, Labour Market Statistics and Balance of Payments.
The statistics area of the Bank's site contains a range of monetary and financial data:
This includes the monthly publication, Bankstats, available as a PDF document or as separate tables in Excel files:
There is also a large range of banking, monetary and financial statistics in the Statistical Interactive Database. There are two easy ways of accessing the statistics in the database. The first is by category of table using the following link:
First you click on a category (e.g. Money and lending); then select a series (e.g. Monthly growth rates of M4 and M4 Lending) by clicking on the "+" sign to open up the options and then again with the selected option; then check the relevant series and click on 'show data' at the bottom of the screen; then select the date range and then the format in which to view the table (HTML, Excel, XML or CSV).
The second method is to use the A to Z listing using the following link:
First you choose which of four alphabetical lists to use. Then select a country or subject (e.g. M4); then a particular series (e.g. LPMAUYM); then, after clicking on 'show data' at the bottom of the screen, select the date range and the format to view the table. Again the available format are HTML, Excel, XML and CSV.
The Treasury site (now on GOV.UK) is also a very useful source of UK data. The main site can be accessed via the following link. The Statistics and Budget sections are particularly useful.
In the Statistics section you will find Latest Economic Indicators.
Apart from giving you recent data releases, it also contains the Pocket Data Bank. This is a very useful weekly publication (see Weekly Economic Indicators) that downloads as an Excel Workbook file, with 27 tables in separate spreadsheets. It is also available as a PDF file. It contains time-series data for a range of national and international indicators, going back, in most cases, a number of years. Other data sets include forecasts for the UK economy and statistics on public finance and spending.
This part of the site also contains a section which gives forecasts for the UK economy by 38 independent organisations. It also gives averages of these forecasts. This section is updated monthly to take account of new forecasts.
There is also a separate section on the site for the Budget Report and the Spending Round (use the links in the site's top right-hand navigation panel). The full reports, tables and charts can be downloaded.
The OBR was set up by the Coalition government in 2010 to provide forecasts and analysis of the UK's public finances.
It produces a number of publications.
These include the Economic and Fiscal Outlook, which is published twice per year in the Spring and Autumn and sets out forecasts for the economy and the public finances over a five-year horizon.
They also include the Fiscal Sustainability Report, which is published annually in the Summer and presents long-term projections for public spending and tax revenue.
The following sites give access to international data. Some of the data are for individual countries; some are for groups of countries.
On the ECB site you will find a statistical section containing a number of series. The index can be accessed via the following link:
The Monthly Bulletin and Annual Report are particularly useful.
The European Economy supplements, also available in hard-copy form, can be downloaded from the Europa portal site. They are contained in the Economic and Financial Affairs Directorate site (ECFIN DG). The home page of the directorate is:
Annual Macroeconomic Database (AMECO)
AMECO contains a large range of annual time-series data for the 27 EU countries, the EU candidates, the EEA countries and the other OECD countries. There are approximately 700 indicators in the dataset. Many of the indicators go back to 1960 and forecast ahead for two years. The data can be viewed online (using Java) and is accessed from:
By clicking on the following link, you will arrive at the 6-monthly forecasts for each of the 27 EU countries, the euro area, the 27 EU countries as a whole and also the USA and Japan. Apart from containing a comprehensive verbal economic report (plus tables) of each country and the EU as a whole, there is a comprehensive statistical annex with 62 tables of time series data, plus forecasts for the next two years.
European Economy Statistical Annex
The Statistical Annex to European Economy is updated six-monthly. It contains 112 tables with macroeconomic data for each of the EU27 countries, the applicant countries (Croatia, Turkey and the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia), the euro area (the current 16 and the previous 12), the 15 EU countries that were members prior to 2004 and also the USA and Japan. It can be downloaded as a PDF file from the following:
First click on the year and then on the relevant Statistical Annex. Then either left click on the link to download the PDF file, or right click to save it.
The following link is to the latest Statistical Annex:
It may be useful to know how to import a table from PDF into Excel. Also, with an Excel file containing many rows or columns, it may be useful to keep the header rows (or columns) of the spreadsheet static while the rest of the figures can be moved with the scroll bar or mouse wheel.
Business and Consumer Surveys
The European Economy site also contains monthly business and consumer surveys. These come in two separate sets: Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) and Business Climate Indicator (BCI).
You can also access longer time series. You can download these as eight sets of zipped Excel files, one for each type of indicator (economic sentiment, industry, services, consumers, retail trade, construction, financial services and investment) or as two complete sets (seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted). The series give monthly data from 1985 and, for some series, quarterly data too. See the Index in the first worksheet of each file for the meaning of the codes used in the tables. The tables give indicators for each of the 27 EU countries, for the euro area and for the EU as a whole. You will find all these at:
On this site you will find a whole range of statistics for each of the 30 OECD countries, the euro area and the OECD as a whole. The statistics are arranged by topic group, including national Accounts, Finance, Agriculture, Development, International Trade, Labour, Prices, Public Management and Short-term Economic Statistics.
OECD Economic Outlook
From the above page you can also link to the OECD Economic Outlook. This six-monthly publication contains a Statistical Annex with annual macroeconomic data for each of the OECD countries. The data typically cover 20 years with forecasts ahead for the next two years. There are 62 tables in Excel spreadsheets. They are normally available a few weeks after the publication of the paper version.
A useful publication with a range of statistics for the latest year and for certain previous years can be found in OECD Factbook. The tables can be accessed individually as PDFs, Excel files or as interactive graphs.
Main Economic Indicators (MEI)
Shorter-term macroeconomic data on each of the OECD countries can be found in the OECD's Main Economic Indicators (MEI). Although the complete publication is available only by subscription, some of the key data can be found at:
Also publicly available data can be downloaded from:
This section of the site contains various datasets classified under a number of headings, such as Development, Economic Projections, Labour and National Accounts. You can customise the datasets by series, countries and years.
The World Bank site contains a vast database of economic, social and other development statistics for all countries of the world. Although much of the data on the site is available only by subscription, the following link takes you to quite a large selection of open-access data, which you can search by country, topic and indicator:
The World Bank also publishes its annual World Development Report. The reports contain a 'selected indicators' appendix with a range of development data for all countries of the world. You can download the reports for each year from the following:
The complete set of World Bank World Development Indicators and World Bank Global Development Finance data are available free via the UK Data Service (incorporating the former Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS)), which requires you to login through the UK Access Management Federation for Education and Research. You will first need to register. This is free. (Details are given on the site). Then to login, you specify your university or college and then use your university/college username and password.
A useful set of publications by the World Bank are the Little Data Books. These give key indicators of the economy, environment, external debt, etc. for each of over 200 countries and for groups of countries organised by region and by income. There is a separate page for each country or group.
The Little Data Book 2013
The Little Data Book on External Debt 2012
The Little Data Book on Gender 2013
The Little Data Book on Information and Communication Technology 2013
The Little Data Book on Private Sector Development 2013
The Little Green Data Book 2013
The Little Data Book on Climate Change 2011
The Little Data Book on Financial Development 2014
The Little Data Book on Financial Inclusion 2012
Another valuable set of international statistics that can be accessed from the World Bank site is Principal Global Indicators (see site 13). This gives country-by-country economic and financial data for the Group of 20 (G20) countries. The data can be downloaded as PDF, CSV or Excel files.
The World Bank has also developed a 'Visualizer' that can be used to compare two indicators over time in a scatter diagram of up to 210 countries and 18 groups of countries. The indicators are taken from the World Development Indicators database. Each country plot is represented by a 'bubble', the size of which depends on population size. Each axis can be set to a linear or log scale. You can choose the year (from 1960 to the latest available) or set the chart to 'play' which then automatically progresses from the first to the final year. This gives an excellent visual representation of the comparative progress of countries over time.
Country reports for all countries of the world can be found via the following link:
Four particularly useful publications are the World Economic Outlook (see also WEO databases), Global Financial Stability Report, Fiscal Monitor and Annual Report. Each of these has a large statistical annex and can be accessed via the following link (see links in the right-hand column of the screen).
The complete set of IMF Direction of Trade Statistics, IMF International Financial Statistics, Balance of Payments Statistics and Government Finance Statistics are available free via the Economic and Social Data Service, which requires using you university/college username and password (you will have to register first: details are given on the site).
A number of additional IMF datasets are available for free access on the IMF eLibrary Data site, including data on international reserves, investment, financial soundness and financial access. These can be searched by country, topic and data source.
The statistics section of the WTO site contains a number of databases and publications providing extensive access to trade and tariff data.
These is also a searchable database for various time series data. These include data on merchandise and commercial services trade.
From this part of the site you can also access trade profiles of individual countries at:
and tariff profiles at:
An excellent annual publication, which you can download as PDF or Excel files, is International Trade Statistics. This "offers a comprehensive overview of the latest developments in world trade, covering the details of merchandise trade by product and trade in commercial service". For the latest volume see:
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) site has an online statistical database, UNCTADstat. This contains data on international trade, foreign direct investment (FDI), commodity prices, economic trends, population and labour, external financial resources and maritime transport.
You can also download the World Investment Report in PDF files at:
The above report contains many tables on global and regional FDI, cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and transnational corporations (TNCs).
The Annexes to the World Investment Report contain a range of additional FDI, M&A and TNC statistics that can be downloaded as 34 Excel files.
The Bank for International Settlements is "an international organisation which fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks". From the hub part of the site you can access the websites of each of the world's central banks.
... and working and research papers published by central banks.
There is also a substantial statistical section. It is the best source for data on nominal and real exchange rate indices (covering 59 currencies). It uses narrow indices with data going back to 1963 and broad indices with data going back to 1994. In each case data are available in Excel format or, using CSV, "produced using stats.bis.org, the new interactive application for accessing BIS statistical data".
The statistical section also has data on cross-border lending and borrowing of banks:
It also has data on securities and derivatives. Also, every three years BIS conducts a global central bank survey of activity in the foreign exchange market. The results of the 2010 survey were released in December 2010.
The statistical section also has a link to the joint BIS-IMF-OECD-World Bank statistics on external debt, see:
You can also find details of the payments systems in each country, including data on money supply, total bank notes and coin issued, data on banks and other financial institutions including branches and value of accounts, cards issued, ATMs, transactions per type of payment instrument, number and value of securities and derivatives trades and many other indicators:
This site gives data for the G-20 economies and ten others: the five other members of the Financial Stability Board that are not part of the G-20 and five others (Austria, Belgium, China: Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). The site is hosted by the IMF and is a joint undertaking of the Inter-Agency Group on Economic and Financial Statistics (IAG).
It provides macroeconomic and financial data in tabular form for the 25 countries:
There is also a feature for selecting one or more countries and then plotting time series data for each of 39 indicators for the selected countries:
There are also links to additonal data sources for each of the countries:
This is a compilation of more than five thousand data series, from sources including the CIA World Factbook, UN, and OECD. As well as profiles of individual countries including their maps and flags, you can browse the data by topic including education, economy, crime, mortality or health. The site offers a facility to create correlation reports and scatter-plots on the fly.
Under FACTS & STATISTICS select a Category (e.g. Economy) and then a series (e.g. Aid as % of GDP). If you select Advanced View you can choose various countries and two series and compare them. Alternatively, use the top navigation bar. For example, you could select Statistics or Countries.
Gapmider allows you to chart three indicators (from a very large selection) over time for most countries simultaneously, with data going back decades, or even centuries for some indicators. The charts allow you to see very easily the differences between countries: hence the title of the site! The following link takes you to Gapminder World.
If you click on Chart view from the tab at the top, you can choose which indicator to put on each axis by clicking on each axis in turn and selecting from the drop-down list. Each axis can be shown in linear or log mode. Each country is represented by a bubble, whose colour varies by continent. The size of the bubble gives the third indicator, whose default is the population size, but again you can use a drop-down menu (bottom right) to select this third indicator. The default is all countries, but you can select just one or more countries from a list on the right. The non-selected countries appear in faded colour. You can use a slider to fade them out completely if you prefer. You can also track the path of your selected countries over time if you choose. A guide to this view is given at:
You can also watch a video tutorial.
The alternative view is the Map view. Each country bubble is positioned on a world map. The size of the bubble gives one indicator. A second indicator can be shown by colour gradation of the bubbles. Again you can select individual countries.
You can also look at gaps within the 'big four' countries/regions: China, India, USA and the EU.
The site also has a range of videos which examine specific data.
If you don't mind that this information comes courtesy of the CIA, this is a very useful site, giving a host of economic and other data, country-by-country. Simply select a country from the drop-down menu near the top of the page: 'Select a country or location'.
Alternatively you can compare countries by indicator. There are 76 indicators from which to choose, including more than 30 economic indicators. When you select an indicator, countries are arranged in descending order (except for inflation and unemployment rates, where countries are arranged in ascending order).
World Factbook country data can also be found on Index Mundi (see also site 26 below). Note that the Index Mundi site is not affiliated, in any way, with the US Central Intelligence Agency.
The Index Mundi site has a powerful graphing feature which you can use for the following:
World and continent maps showing colour-coded information and data tables by country for 44 separate indicators (use the drop-down menus):
Bar charts with figures for ranking countries for a range of indicators:
Times series charts and tables that allow you to compare up to four countries using up to ten indicators:
Correlation scatter charts (plus table) that allow you to compare two indicators for all countries for a selected year:
Economic data for the whole of the USA, updated daily from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
The site consists of core macroeconomic indicators taken from a range of sources, including the IMF, World Bank, UN, OECD, CIA World Factbook, Internet World Statistics, The Heritage Foundation and Transparency International. You can search data in four ways: by country, by indicator, by year (including forecasts) and by price index indicators. There are plans for the future to include World Bank, national government and other data sources.
The EconomyWatch site also includes news and country briefings at:
and economic news at:
Another part of the site contains data on world industries. It covers all the major industries and classification systems, together with key industry data.
The site allows you to access various databases and compare the statistics in them. For example, it allows you to compare various countries by indicator. For a list of reference sources for data see:
Particular databases you may find useful are:
The site provides a consistent means of searching, comparing, visualising and downloading quantitative data from a wide variety of international sources. You can explore data by:
Any data that is open and free from the source site is still available free on the DataMarket site – some 125 million time series from about 16 thousand data sets.
You can upload your own data and use the site's visualisation features. You can download data into various formats, including Excel, PDF, SVG, etc., providing you first register (at no charge).
This site captures international data from a number of sources and presents them in a common space, visualizing figures, applying analytical functions, creating a set of dashboards and presenting the outcome.
For example, under Economics, you can access a range of economic indicators by country.
You can use the dataset browser to search for data by date, name, topic or source.
Quandl has indexed over 5 million time-series datasets from over 400 sources. All of Quandl's datasets are open and free. You can download any Quandl dataset in any format that you want. You can also visualize, save, share, authenticate, validate, upload, index, merge and transform data.
You can use the search box to find data or you can scroll through datasets from the home page.
Or you can browse under particular headings, such as:
The following sites provide data on UK and international markets for individual commodities, shares or products.
The following link is to the home page, from which you can access the various sections of the site, including equity (share) markets, currency markets and commodity markets.
On the investing part of the site you can access equity and other financial markets.
Enter the company or symbol in the box and press 'Get Quotes'.
This is a well presented and clearly navigable site for finding share and commodity prices and tailoring the data.
For example, you can see what is happening to each of the major stock market indices and all the individual shares in that particular index at:
You can draw time-series charts of any share for periods of 1 day to 10 years. These can be in different formats, such as line charts, candle charts or high-low charts. You can add overlays of moving averages and add charts at the bottom of the screen for a range of other indicators on that share, such as volume and moving average (VOLMA), moving average convergence/divergence (MACD), fast stochastic (Fast Stoch) and rate of change (ROC).
You can show 'heatmaps' which rank shares in indices by percentage change.
You can use the Stock Screener to display particular types of stock, filtered by size, sector and various types of share data.
Also you can build your own portfolio.
The Index Mundi site has an extensive set of commodity price data drawn from the IMF.
These can be charted for a 6 month, 1, 5, 10, 15, or 25 year range. The figures also appear in a table which can be downloaded to Excel. There are also links to recent news articles relevant to the selected commidty.
The site also contains country data, which can be found from the site's home page.
Details of the charting features of the country data can be found above at site 17.
This is a US government site, but it gives international as well as US data on electricity, coal, gas, nuclear power and oil.
For individual country analyses, see:
You can download Excel files of daily, weekly, monthly and annual spot prices for various fuels.
For example, monthly historical prices for Brent crude are at:
Use the 'View history' panel at the top to toggle between annual, monthly, weekly and daily prices.
You can download Excel spreadsheets of prices, stocks and traded volumes for each month of the current year for each metal.
This UK government site has, amongst other things, market data on Gilt markets, Treasury Bill markets and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) market.
The BBC news site has a section with market data.
There are six excellent sites for house price data.
Lloyds Banking Group
The Halifax House Price Index site shows the movements in house prices since 1983 both nationally, by region, by county, by town, by property type and by type of buyer. Data are given monthly, quarterly and annually. Data can be downloaded as Excel spreadsheets from the 'House Price Calculator and Market Statistics' section of the site. For example, try clicking on 'Historical House Price Data'.
Nationwide house prices site
This gives quarterly movements in national house prices since 1952. More detailed series distinguishing type of property, type of buyer and region are given from more recent years (1973, 1983 or 1991).
The site gives real-time house price valuations by postcode, as well as house price trends by region.
ONS House Price Indices
The following link takes you to a range of Excel tables on the UK housing market and house prices. They were previously published by the Department of Communities and Local Government. They are all downloadable as Excel files. See in particular Tables 33 (annual data) and 10 (quarterly data).
The OBR publised house price forecasts in May 2012. It used the median of independent forecasts by external organisations that forecast Communities and Local Government house prices over the next two calendar years.
You may also find the following site useful, which is designed for residential property investors who are considering buying houses or apartments in other countries. It tracks official and semi-official house price indices in 57 countries. It also has data on gross rental yields, market structures, conveyancing costs, landlord and tenant law and effective tax rates for residential property in over 100 countries.
You can also find global house price data on The Economist site.
This site has key data on world taxes, including income tax rates, a tax rates comparison table, a section on business & finance worldwide, a directory of world embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions, a link to general and economic news sites, links to tax news, links to world tax and revenue administrations, a directory of world stock exchanges and links to business oppportunity sites arranged by country.
A useful section is:
This is presented as a table, with the rates for each country with many of the countries clickable to give you more information.
These sites provide links to other sites with a range of economic data.
This is a new data service funded by the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). It incorporates the former Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) which gives access to a range of datasets from national and international organisations. In addition to these datasets, the UK Data Service includes data from Census.ac.uk, Secure Data Service (SDS) and Survey Question Bank (SQB).
To gain free access to the datasets linked from the site you will need to enter your UK university/college username and password in the login box on the Home Page. You will first need to register from the same page.
Of particular interest to many economists are the following two sections:
This gives access to a huge range of international macroeconomic data from the World Bank, Eurostat, the IMF, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the ILO, the OECD and UNIDO.
To access the data, click on the databank (e.g. IMF International Finance Statistics (IFS)). If you haven't already accepted the conditions from that organisation you will first be redirected to a screen where you can do that.
This gives access to a large collection of business microdata, provided by the Office for National Statistics. The data are collected through a wide range of surveys (and some administrative sources), and cover: productivity, innovation, workforce skills, earnings, international trade, foreign direct investment, research and development, business demography and industrial relations.
This is a New Zealand site with links to a host of statistical sources from around the world.
You can browse by country, by region of the world and by subject. The subjects include both economic and non-economic ones.
This US site contains a vast range of US, Australian, Chinese (new), ECB and Japanese data, plus LIBOR data in various currencies. The site allows you to manipulate the data: e.g. convert monthly data to quarterly or annual data; convert levels to rates of change; dump data into Excel spreadsheets; and graph the data. Click on Transform this Series to convert the data. Have a play with it. It's easy to follow the instructions.
RFE is part of AEAWeb - information for economists provided by the American Economic Association. From the Data page on the Resources for Economists (RFE) part of the site, there are links to very many online data sources, categorised by region. Categories include US Macro and Regional Data, World and Non-USA Data, Finance and Financial Markets, Journal Data and Program Archives.
This is an online resources portal for development information and knowledge-sharing worldwide. Development Gateway is "an international nonprofit organization with the mission to reduce poverty and enable change in developing nations through information technology".
The following part of the site allows you to access data on international aid by type of aid, donor, recipient, purpose or activity.
Zanran is a search site for data. As the site says:
"Zanran helps you to find ‘semi-structured’ data on the web. This is the numerical data that people have presented as graphs and tables and charts. For example, the data could be a graph in a PDF report, or a table in an Excel spreadsheet, or a barchart shown as an image in an HTML page. This huge amount of information can be difficult to find using conventional search engines, which are focused primarily on finding text rather than graphs, tables and bar charts.
Put more simply: Zanran is Google for data."