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PMIs: Reliable indicators for exports?


  • Sandra Hanslin Grossmann
  • Rolf Scheufele


Foreign economic activity is a major determinant of export developments. However, foreign GDP figures are published too late to be useful for short‐term forecasting. This paper presents a number of indicators based on the widely available PMI surveys that provide very early signals of foreign activity. Using MIDAS models we analyze the in‐ and out‐of‐sample performance of these and related indicators for two very trade‐exposed countries (Germany and Switzerland). We find that the monthly indicators based on foreign PMIs are strongly correlated with quarterly export growth. The forecast comparison shows that PMI‐based indicators perform very well relative to other benchmark models.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandra Hanslin Grossmann & Rolf Scheufele, 2019. "PMIs: Reliable indicators for exports?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(2), pages 711-734, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:27:y:2019:i:2:p:711-734
    DOI: 10.1111/roie.12395

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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Lehmann, 2021. "Forecasting exports across Europe: What are the superior survey indicators?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 60(5), pages 2429-2453, May.
    2. Behrens, Christoph, 2019. "Evaluating the Joint Efficiency of German Trade Forecasts. A nonparametric multivariate approach," Working Papers 9, German Research Foundation's Priority Programme 1859 "Experience and Expectation. Historical Foundations of Economic Behaviour", Humboldt University Berlin.
    3. Robert Lehmann, 2019. "Forecasting Exports across Europe: What Are the Superior Survey Indicators?," CESifo Working Paper Series 7846, CESifo.
    4. Christoph Behrens, 2019. "A Nonparametric Evaluation of the Optimality of German Export and Import Growth Forecasts under Flexible Loss," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(3), pages 1-23, September.
    5. Christian Grimme & Robert Lehmann, 2020. "The ifo Export Climate – A Leading Indicator to Forecast German Export Growth," CESifo Forum, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 20(04), pages 36-42, January.

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