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Outperforming IMF Forecasts by the Use of Leading Indicators

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  • Katja Drechsel
  • S. Giesen
  • Axel Lindner

Abstract

This study analyzes the performance of the IMF World Economic Outlook forecasts for world output and the aggregates of both the advanced economies and the emerging and developing economies. With a focus on the forecast for the current and the next year, we examine whether IMF forecasts can be improved by using leading indicators with monthly updates. Using a real-time dataset for GDP and for the indicators we find that some simple single-indicator forecasts on the basis of data that are available at higher frequency can significantly outperform the IMF forecasts if the publication of the Outlook is only a few months old.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Halle Institute for Economic Research in its series IWH Discussion Papers with number 4.

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Date of creation: Apr 2014
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Handle: RePEc:iwh:dispap:4-14

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Keywords: IMF WEO forecasts; leading indicators; real-time data;

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  1. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "Reply to the comments on 'The state of macroeconomic forecasting'," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 503-505, December.
  2. Kenneth D. West, 1994. "Asymptotic Inference About Predictive Ability," Macroeconomics 9410002, EconWPA.
  3. Roberto Golinelli & Giuseppe Parigi, 2013. "Tracking world trade and GDP in real time," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 920, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  4. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "The state of macroeconomic forecasting," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 435-468, December.
  5. Katja Drechsel & Laurent Maurin, 2011. "Flow of conjunctural information and forecast of euro area economic activity," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(3), pages 336-354, April.
  6. Audrone Jakaitiene & Stephane Dees, 2012. "Forecasting the World Economy in the Short Term," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 331-350, 03.
  7. Arora, Harjit K. & Smyth, David J., 1990. "Forecasting the developing world : An accuracy analysis of the IMF's forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 393-400, October.
  8. Katja Drechsel & Rolf Scheufele, 2011. "The Financial Crisis from a Forecaster’s Perspective," IWH Discussion Papers 5, Halle Institute for Economic Research.
  9. Axel Dreher & Silvia Marchesi & James Vreeland, 2008. "The political economy of IMF forecasts," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 145-171, October.
  10. Gerard van Welzenis & Wim Suyker, 2005. "Explanatory note on the CPB world trade series," CPB Memorandum 116, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  11. Allan Timmermann, 2006. "An Evaluation of the World Economic Outlook Forecasts," IMF Working Papers 06/59, International Monetary Fund.
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