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Short-Term Forecasting of the Japanese Economy Using Factor Models

  • Claudia Godbout
  • Marco J. Lombardi

While the usefulness of factor models has been acknowledged over recent years, little attention has been devoted to the forecasting power of these models for the Japanese economy. In this paper, we aim at assessing the relative performance of factor models over different samples, including the recent financial crisis. To do so, we construct factor models to forecast Japanese GDP and its subcomponents, using 38 data series (including daily, monthly and quarterly variables) over the period 1991 to 2010. Overall, we find that factor models perform well at tracking GDP movements and anticipating turning points. For most of the components, we report that factor models yield lower forecasting errors than a simple AR process or an indicator model based on Purchasing Managers’ Indicators (PMIs). In line with previous studies, we conclude that the largest improvements in terms of forecasting accuracy are found for more volatile periods, such as the recent financial crisis. However, unlike previous studies, we do not find evident links between the volatility of the components and the relative advantage of using factor models. Finally, we show that adding the PMI index as an independent explanatory variable improves the forecasting properties of the factor models.

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Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 12-7.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:12-7
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  1. Jörg Breitung & Sandra Eickmeier, 2006. "Dynamic factor models," AStA Advances in Statistical Analysis, Springer, vol. 90(1), pages 27-42, March.
  2. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & David Small, 2005. "Nowcasting GDP and inflation: the real-time informational content of macroeconomic data releases," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  4. Shin-ichi Fukuda & Takashi Onodera, 2001. "A New Composite Index of Coincident Economic Indicators in Japan: How can we improve the forecast performance? ," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-101, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
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  11. Angelini, Elena & Bańbura, Marta & Rünstler, Gerhard, 2008. "Estimating and forecasting the euro area monthly national accounts from a dynamic factor model," Working Paper Series 0953, European Central Bank.
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  13. Alessi, Lucia & Barigozzi, Matteo & Capasso, Marco, 2010. "Improved penalization for determining the number of factors in approximate factor models," Statistics & Probability Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(23-24), pages 1806-1813, December.
  14. Nikita Perevalov & Philipp Maier, 2010. "On the Advantages of Disaggregated Data: Insights from Forecasting the U.S. Economy in a Data-Rich Environment," Working Papers 10-10, Bank of Canada.
  15. Boivin, J. & Giannoni, M., 2007. "DSGE Models in a Data-Rich Environment," Working papers 162, Banque de France.
  16. Marta Bańbura & Michele Modugno, 2014. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation Of Factor Models On Datasets With Arbitrary Pattern Of Missing Data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 133-160, 01.
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