IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Real-time macroeconomic forecasting with leading indicators: An empirical comparison

  • Heij, Christiaan
  • van Dijk, Dick
  • Groenen, Patrick J.F.

This paper demonstrates that the Conference Board’s Composite Leading Index (CLI) has significant real-time predictive ability for Industrial Production (IP) growth rates at horizons from one to six months ahead over the period 1989–2009. A popular but unrealistic analysis, which combines real-time data for CLI and final vintage data for IP as predictor variables, obscures the actual predictive content of the CLI, in the sense that in that case, the improvements in forecast accuracy relative to a univariate AR model are not significant. The CLI appears to be less useful for forecasting growth rates of the Conference Board’s Composite Coincident Index (CCI) in real time, as a univariate AR model performs better. This result is mostly due to its disappointing performance during the first five years of the forecast period. The CLI may not be the best way of exploiting the information contained in the underlying individual leading indicator variables. The use of principal components instead of CLI leads to more accurate real-time forecasts for both IP and CCI growth rates.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Forecasting.

Volume (Year): 27 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 466-481

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:intfor:v:27:y:2011:i:2:p:466-481
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Pesaran, Hashem & Timmermann, Allan, 2005. "Real-Time Econometrics," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(01), pages 212-231, February.
  2. Francis X. Diebold & Robert S. Mariano, 1994. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," NBER Technical Working Papers 0169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Golinelli, Roberto & Parigi, Giuseppe, 2008. "Real-time squared: A real-time data set for real-time GDP forecasting," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 368-385.
  4. Clark, Todd E. & McCracken, Michael W., 2009. "Tests of Equal Predictive Ability With Real-Time Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(4), pages 441-454.
  5. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Forecasting inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 293-335, October.
  6. Swanson, N.R., 1996. "Forecasting Using First Available Versus Fully Revised Economic Time Series data," Papers 4-96-7, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  7. Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Simple, Positive Semi-definite, Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 703-08, May.
  8. Anindya BANERJEE & Massimiliano MARCELLINO, 2002. "Are There Any Reliable Leading Indicators for US Inflation and GDP Growth?," Economics Working Papers ECO2002/21, European University Institute.
  9. Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2006. "Leading Indicators," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
  10. McGuckin, Robert H. & Ozyildirim, Ataman & Zarnowitz, Victor, 2007. "A More Timely and Useful Index of Leading Indicators," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 110-120, January.
  11. Hamilton, James D & Perez-Quiros, Gabriel, 1996. "What Do the Leading Indicators Lead?," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69(1), pages 27-49, January.
  12. Swanson, Norman R. & van Dijk, Dick, 2006. "Are Statistical Reporting Agencies Getting It Right? Data Rationality and Business Cycle Asymmetry," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 24, pages 24-42, January.
  13. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 2002. "Macroeconomic Forecasting Using Diffusion Indexes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 147-62, April.
  14. Ataman Ozyildirim & Brian Schaitkin & Victor Zarnowitz, 2010. "Business cycles in the euro area defined with coincident economic indicators and predicted with leading economic indicators," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1-2), pages 6-28.
  15. Stark, Tom & Croushore, Dean, 2002. "Forecasting with a real-time data set for macroeconomists," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 507-531, December.
  16. Croushore, Dean & Stark, Tom, 2001. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 111-130, November.
  17. Maximo Camacho & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2000. "This Is What The Leading Indicators Lead," Computing in Economics and Finance 2000 132, Society for Computational Economics.
  18. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 2006. "Forecasting with Many Predictors," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
  19. Croushore, Dean, 2006. "Forecasting with Real-Time Macroeconomic Data," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:intfor:v:27:y:2011:i:2:p:466-481. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.