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Real-time nowcasting of GDP: Factor model versus professional forecasters

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  • Liebermann, Joelle

Abstract

This paper performs a fully real-time nowcasting (forecasting) exercise of US real gross domestic product (GDP) growth using Giannone, Reichlin and Small (2008) factor model framework which enables one to handle unbalanced datasets as available in real-time. To this end, we have constructed a novel real-time database of vintages from October 2000 to June 2010 for a rich panel of US variables, and can hence reproduce, for any given day in that range, the exact information that was available to a real-time forecaster. We track the daily evolution throughout the current and next quarter of the model nowcasting performance. Analogously to Giannone et al. (2008) pseudo real-time results, we find that the precision of the nowcasts increases with information releases. Furthermore, the Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) does not carry additional information with respect to the model best specification, suggesting that the often cited superiority of the SPF, attributable to judgment, is weak over our sample. Then, as one moves forward along the real-time data flow, the continuous updating of the model provides a more precise estimate of current quarter GDP growth and the SPF becomes stale compared to all the model specifications. These results are robust to the recent recession period.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 28819.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:28819

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Keywords: Real-time data; Nowcasting; Forecasting; Factor model;

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References

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  1. Elena Angelini & Gonzalo Camba-Mendez & Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & Gerhard Rünstler, 2008. "Short-Term Forecasts of Euro Area GDP Growth," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2008-035, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Fair, Ray C & Shiller, Robert J, 1990. "Comparing Information in Forecasts from Econometric Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 375-89, June.
  3. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David H., 2006. "Nowcasting GDP and inflation: the real-time informational content of macroeconomic data releases," Working Paper Series 0633, European Central Bank.
  4. Banbura, Marta & Rünstler, Gerhard, 2011. "A look into the factor model black box: Publication lags and the role of hard and soft data in forecasting GDP," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 333-346, April.
  5. Bernanke, Ben S. & Boivin, Jean, 2003. "Monetary policy in a data-rich environment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 525-546, April.
  6. Catherine Doz & Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2006. "A Two-step estimator for large approximate dynamic factor models based on Kalman filtering," THEMA Working Papers 2006-23, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  7. D'Agostino, Antonello & Domenico, Giannone & Surico, Paolo, 2006. "(Un)Predictability and Macroeconomic Stability," Research Technical Papers 5/RT/06, Central Bank of Ireland.
  8. Bai, Jushan & Ng, Serena, 2007. "Determining the Number of Primitive Shocks in Factor Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 52-60, January.
  9. D'Agostino, Antonello & McQuinn, Kieran & O'Brien, Derry, 2011. "Nowcasting Irish GDP," MPRA Paper 32941, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. D'Agostino, Antonello & Giannone, Domenico, 2006. "Comparing Alternative Predictors Based on Large-Panel Factor Models," Research Technical Papers 14/RT/06, Central Bank of Ireland.
  11. Jon Faust & Jonathan H. Wright, 2007. "Comparing Greenbook and Reduced Form Forecasts using a Large Realtime Dataset," NBER Working Papers 13397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Durbin, James & Koopman, Siem Jan, 2001. "Time Series Analysis by State Space Methods," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780198523543, October.
  13. Jushan Bai & Serena Ng, 2000. "Determining the Number of Factors in Approximate Factor Models," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1504, Econometric Society.
  14. Jean Boivin & Serena Ng, 2005. "Understanding and Comparing Factor-Based Forecasts," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(3), December.
  15. repec:ulb:ulbeco:2013/9907 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-44, January.
  17. K. Barhoumi & S. Benk & R. Cristadoro & A. Den Reijer & A. Jakaitiene & P. Jelonek & A. Rua & K. Ruth & C. Van Nieuwenhuyze & G. Rünstler, 2008. "Short-term forecasting of GDP using large monthly datasets – A pseudo real-time forecast evaluation exercise," Working Paper Research, National Bank of Belgium 133, National Bank of Belgium.
  18. Forni M. & Hallin M., 2003. "The Generalized Dynamic Factor Model: One-Sided Estimation and Forecasting," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 143, Society for Computational Economics.
  19. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & Luca Sala, 2005. "Monetary policy in real time," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6401, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    • Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & Luca Sala, 2005. "Monetary Policy in Real Time," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 161-224 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Bańbura, Marta & Modugno, Michele, 2010. "Maximum likelihood estimation of factor models on data sets with arbitrary pattern of missing data," Working Paper Series 1189, European Central Bank.
  21. Faust, Jon & Wright, Jonathan H., 2009. "Comparing Greenbook and Reduced Form Forecasts Using a Large Realtime Dataset," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(4), pages 468-479.
  22. Catherine Dehon & Marjorie Gassner & Vincenzo Verardi, 2009. "Beware of 'Good' Outliers and Overoptimistic Conclusions," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(3), pages 437-452, 06.
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Cited by:
  1. D'Agostino, Antonello & McQuinn, Kieran & O'Brien, Derry, 2008. "Now-casting Irish GDP," Research Technical Papers 9/RT/08, Central Bank of Ireland.
  2. Liebermann, Joelle, 2012. "Real-time forecasting in a data-rich environment," Research Technical Papers 07/RT/12, Central Bank of Ireland.
  3. Alessandro Beber & Michael W. Brandt & Maurizio Luisi, 2013. "Distilling the Macroeconomic News Flow," NBER Working Papers 19650, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. D’Agostino, Antonello & Schnatz, Bernd, 2012. "Survey-based nowcasting of US growth: a real-time forecast comparison over more than 40 years," Working Paper Series 1455, European Central Bank.

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