IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Forecasting Annual Inflation with Seasonal Monthly Data: Using Levels versus Logs of the Underlying Price Index


  • Luetkepohl Helmut

    (European University Institute)

  • Xu Fang

    (European University Institute and Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel)


This paper investigates whether using natural logarithms (logs) of price indices for forecasting inflation rates is preferable to employing the original series. Univariate forecasts for annual inflation rates for a number of European countries and the USA based on monthly seasonal consumer price indices are considered. Stochastic seasonality and deterministic seasonality models are used. In many cases, the forecasts based on the original variables result in substantially smaller root mean squared errors than models based on logs. In turn, if forecasts based on logs are superior, the gains are typically small. This outcome sheds doubt on the common practice in the academic literature to forecast inflation rates based on differences of logs.

Suggested Citation

  • Luetkepohl Helmut & Xu Fang, 2011. "Forecasting Annual Inflation with Seasonal Monthly Data: Using Levels versus Logs of the Underlying Price Index," Journal of Time Series Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-23, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jtsmet:v:3:y:2011:i:1:n:7

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hylleberg, S. & Engle, R. F. & Granger, C. W. J. & Yoo, B. S., 1990. "Seasonal integration and cointegration," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1-2), pages 215-238.
    2. Erdenebat Bataa & Denise R. Osborn & Marianne Sensier & Dick van Dijk, 2014. "Identifying Changes in Mean, Seasonality, Persistence and Volatility for G7 and Euro Area Inflation," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 76(3), pages 360-388, June.
    3. Clements, Michael P. & Hendry, David F., 1997. "An empirical study of seasonal unit roots in forecasting," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 341-355, September.
    4. Patton, Andrew J. & Timmermann, Allan, 2007. "Properties of optimal forecasts under asymmetric loss and nonlinearity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 884-918, October.
    5. Bårdsen, Gunnar & Lütkepohl, Helmut, 2011. "Forecasting levels of log variables in vector autoregressions," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 1108-1115, October.
    6. A. Espasa & E. Senra & R. Albacete, 2002. "Forecasting inflation in the European Monetary Union: A disaggregated approach by countries and by sectors," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(4), pages 402-421.
    7. Hubrich, Kirstin, 2005. "Forecasting euro area inflation: Does aggregating forecasts by HICP component improve forecast accuracy?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 119-136.
    8. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-144, January.
    9. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Forecasting inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 293-335, October.
    10. Harvey, David & Leybourne, Stephen & Newbold, Paul, 1997. "Testing the equality of prediction mean squared errors," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 281-291, June.
    11. Ghysels,Eric & Osborn,Denise R., 2001. "The Econometric Analysis of Seasonal Time Series," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521565882, March.
    12. Osborn, Denise R. & Heravi, Saeed & Birchenhall, C. R., 1999. "Seasonal unit roots and forecasts of two-digit European industrial production," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 27-47, February.
    13. Hylleberg, Svend, 1986. "Seasonality in Regression," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 1, number 9780123634559 edited by Shell, Karl.
    14. Paap, Richard & Franses, Philip Hans & Hoek, Henk, 1997. "Mean shifts, unit roots and forecasting seasonal time series," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 357-368, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Proietti, Tommaso & Lütkepohl, Helmut, 2013. "Does the Box–Cox transformation help in forecasting macroeconomic time series?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 88-99.
    2. Mayr, Johannes & Ulbricht, Dirk, 2015. "Log versus level in VAR forecasting: 42 million empirical answers—Expect the unexpected," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 40-42.
    3. Santiago Cajiao Raigosa & Luis Fernando Melo Velandia & Daniel Parra Amado, 2014. "Pronósticos para una economía menos volátil: el caso colombiano," COYUNTURA ECONÓMICA, FEDESARROLLO, December.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:jtsmet:v:3:y:2011:i:1:n:7. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.