How reliable are forecasts of GDP growth and inflation for countries with limited coverage?
This paper analyses the performance of GDP growth and inflation forecasts for 25 transition countries between 1994 and 2007, as provided by 13 international institutions, including multilateral, private and academic forecasters. The empirical results show that there is a positive correlation between the number of forecasters covering a given country and the forecast accuracy. Simple combined forecasts are shown to be unbiased and more accurate than most of the individual forecasters, although also inefficient. However, only a few institutions provide efficient and unbiased forecasts, with just one out of 13 forecasters providing both unbiased and efficient forecasts of both GDP growth and inflation in the observed period. The directional analysis shows a correct forecast of the change in the forecast indicator in over two thirds of cases. However, the eventual outcome is within the range of available forecasts in less than half of the cases, with more than 40% of outcomes for GDP growth above the highest forecast. Encouragingly, forecasts are shown to be improving over time and becoming more accurate with the increase in the number of forecasting institutions - forecast accuracy measured by mean absolute error improves by 0.3 percentage points for growth and by 0.2 percentage points for inflation for each additional institution providing forecasts.
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Volume (Year): 33 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
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