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The Australian Business Cycle: A Coincident Indicator Approach

In: The Changing Nature of the Business Cycle

  • Christian Gillitzer

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

  • Jonathan Kearns

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

  • Anthony Richards

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

This paper constructs coincident indices of Australian economic activity using techniques for estimating approximate factor models with many series, using data that begin in the early 1960s. The resulting monthly and quarterly indices both provide plausible measures of the Australian business cycle. The indices are quite robust to the selection of variables used in their construction, the sample period used in estimation, and the number of factors included. Notably, only a small number of factors is needed to adequately capture the business cycle. The coincident indices provide a much smoother representation of the cycle in economic activity than do standard national accounts measures, especially in the period prior to the early 1980s. Accordingly, they suggest that the marked decline in volatility evident in quarterly Australian GDP growth that occurred up to the 1980s may overstate the reduction in the volatility of economic activity and may at least partially reflect improvements in the measurement of GDP. Because the coincident indices present a smoother perspective of the business cycle in the 1960s and 1970s, they identify fewer recessions in this period than does GDP. Over the past 45 years, the coincident indices locate three recessions – periods when there was a widespread downturn in economic activity; in 1974–1975, 1982–1983 and 1990–1991.

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This chapter was published in: Christopher Kent & David Norman (ed.) The Changing Nature of the Business Cycle, Reserve Bank of Australia, pages , 2005.
This item is provided by Reserve Bank of Australia in its series RBA Annual Conference Volume with number acv2005-14.
Handle: RePEc:rba:rbaacv:acv2005-14
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  2. Michael Artis & Anindya Banerjee & Massimiliano Marcellino, . "Factor forecasts for the UK," Working Papers 203, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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  4. Lucrezia Reichlin & Mario Forni & Marc Hallin & Marco Lippi, 2001. "Coincident and leading indicators for the Euro area," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10137, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  10. Harding, Don & Pagan, Adrian, 2003. "A comparison of two business cycle dating methods," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1681-1690, July.
  11. Boivin, Jean & Ng, Serena, 2005. "Understanding and Comparing Factor-Based Forecasts," MPRA Paper 836, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Adrian Pagan, 1997. "Towards an Understanding of Some Business Cycle Characteristics," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 30(1), pages 1-15.
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  14. Mario Forni & Marc Hallin & Lucrezia Reichlin & Marco Lippi, 2000. "The generalised dynamic factor model: identification and estimation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10143, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  15. Forni, Mario & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1998. "Let's Get Real: A Factor Analytical Approach to Disaggregated Business Cycle Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 453-73, July.
  16. Altissimo, Filippo & Bassanetti, Antonio & Cristadoro, Riccardo & Forni, Mario & Hallin, Marc & Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Veronese, Giovanni, 2001. "EuroCOIN: A Real Time Coincident Indicator of the Euro Area Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 3108, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Ben S. Bernanke & Jean Boivin, 2001. "Monetary Policy in a Data-Rich Environment," NBER Working Papers 8379, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Dan Andrews & Marion Kohler, 2005. "International Business Cycle Co-movements through Time," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Christopher Kent & David Norman (ed.), The Changing Nature of the Business Cycle Reserve Bank of Australia.
  19. Gerhard Bry & Charlotte Boschan, 1971. "Foreword to "Cyclical Analysis of Time Series: Selected Procedures and Computer Programs"," NBER Chapters, in: Cyclical Analysis of Time Series: Selected Procedures and Computer Programs, pages -1 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  21. Harding, Don, 2002. "The Australian Business Cycle: A New View," MPRA Paper 3698, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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