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Forecasting national activity using lots of international predictors: An application to New Zealand

  • Eickmeier, Sandra
  • Ng, Tim

We assess the marginal predictive content of a large international dataset for forecasting GDP in New Zealand, an archetypal small open economy. We apply “data-rich” factor and shrinkage methods to efficiently handle hundreds of predictor series from many countries. The methods covered are principal components, targeted predictors, weighted principal components, partial least squares, elastic net and ridge regression. We find that exploiting a large international dataset can improve forecasts relative to data-rich approaches based on a large national dataset only, and also relative to more traditional approaches based on small datasets. This is in spite of New Zealand’s business and consumer confidence and expectations data capturing a substantial proportion of the predictive information in the international data. The largest forecasting accuracy gains from including international predictors are at longer forecast horizons. The forecasting performance achievable with the data-rich methods differs widely, with shrinkage methods and partial least squares performing best in handling the international data.

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

Volume (Year): 27 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 496-511

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Handle: RePEc:eee:intfor:v:27:y:2011:i:2:p:496-511
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ijforecast

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