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Nowcasting GDP: Electronic Payments, Data Vintages and the Timing of Data Releases

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  • John Galbraith

    ()

  • Greg Tkacz

Abstract

We describe and assess the usefulness of a newly-constructed database of electronic payments, comprised of debit and credit card transactions as well cheques that clear through the banking system, as indicators of current GDP growth. Apart from capturing a broad range of spending activity, these variables are available on a very timely basis, thereby making them suitable candidate indicators. Controlling both for the release dates of various variables and the vintage of GDP available to analysts at the time a nowcast is produced, we generate nowcasts of GDP growth for a given quarter over a span of five months, which is the period over which interest in nowcasts would exist. We find that nowcast errors fall by about 60 per cent between the first and final nowcast. Evidence on the value of the additional payments variables is mixed, however; the point estimates suggest reductions in forecast loss at some nowcast horizons, but with considerable variability.

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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2013s-25.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2013s-25

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Keywords: GDP; nowcasting; electronic payments;

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References

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  1. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & David Small, 2005. "Nowcasting GDP and inflation: the real-time informational content of macroeconomic data releases," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. John Galbraith & Douglas James Hodgson, 2009. "Dimension Reduction and Model Averaging for Estimation of Artists’ Age-Valuation Profiles," CIRANO Working Papers 2009s-41, CIRANO.
  3. Maximo Camacho & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2008. "Introducing the EURO-STING: Short Term INdicator of Euro Area Growth," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0807, Banco de Espa�a.
  4. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2008. "Tests of equal predictive ability with real-time data," Working Papers 2008-029, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  5. Carlos Arango & Kim Huynh & Leonard Sabetti, 2011. "How Do You Pay? The Role of Incentives at the Point-of-Sale," Working Papers 11-23, Bank of Canada.
  6. Ariel Burstein & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2004. "Large Devaluations and the Real Exchange Rate," NBER Working Papers 10986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Bruce E. Hansen, 2007. "Least Squares Model Averaging," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(4), pages 1175-1189, 07.
  8. Venkatesh Shankar & Ruth N. Bolton, 2004. "An Empirical Analysis of Determinants of Retailer Pricing Strategy," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(1), pages 28-49, May.
  9. Andreou, Elena & Ghysels, Eric & Kourtellos, Andros, 2010. "Regression models with mixed sampling frequencies," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 158(2), pages 246-261, October.
  10. Luis C. Nunes, 2005. "Nowcasting quarterly GDP growth in a monthly coincident indicator model," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(8), pages 575-592.
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