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Real-Time Nowcasting of GDP: Factor Model versus Professional Forecasters

  • Liebermann, Joelle

    (Central Bank of Ireland)

This paper performs a fully real-time nowcasting (forecasting) exercise of US real gross domestic product (GDP) growth using Giannone, Reichlin and Small (2008) factor model framework which enables one to handle unbalanced datasets as available in real-time. To this end, we have constructed a novel real-time database of vintages from October 2000 to June 2010 for a panel of US variables, and can hence reproduce, for any given day in that range, the exact information that was available to a real-time forecaster. We track the daily evolution throughout the current and next quarter of the model nowcasting performance. Similarly to Giannone et al. pseudo realtime results, we find that the precision of the nowcasts increases with information releases. Moreover, the Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) does not carry additional information with respect to the model best specification, suggesting that the often cited superiority of the SPF, attributable to judgment, is weak over our sample. Then, as one moves forward along the real-time data flow, the continuous updating of the model provides a more precise estimate of current quarter GDP growth and the SPF becomes stale compared to all the model specifications. These results are robust to the recent recession period.

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File URL: http://www.centralbank.ie/publications/documents/03RT11.pdf
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Paper provided by Central Bank of Ireland in its series Research Technical Papers with number 3/RT/11.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cbi:wpaper:3/rt/11
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  1. Doz, Catherine & Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2007. "A Two-Step Estimator for Large Approximate Dynamic Factor Models Based on Kalman Filtering," CEPR Discussion Papers 6043, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Jon Faust & Jonathan H. Wright, 2007. "Comparing Greenbook and Reduced Form Forecasts using a Large Realtime Dataset," NBER Working Papers 13397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Elena Angelini & Gonzalo Camba‐Mendez & Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & Gerhard Rünstler, 2011. "Short‐term forecasts of euro area GDP growth," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 14, pages C25-C44, 02.
  4. Bai, Jushan & Ng, Serena, 2007. "Determining the Number of Primitive Shocks in Factor Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 52-60, January.
  5. Jushan Bai & Serena Ng, 2000. "Determining the Number of Factors in Approximate Factor Models," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1504, Econometric Society.
  6. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David H., 2006. "Nowcasting GDP and inflation: the real-time informational content of macroeconomic data releases," Working Paper Series 0633, European Central Bank.
  7. D'Agostino, Antonello & McQuinn, Kieran & O'Brien, Derry, 2008. "Now-casting Irish GDP," Research Technical Papers 9/RT/08, Central Bank of Ireland.
  8. Karim Barhoumi & Szilard Benk & Riccardo Cristadoro & Ard Den Reijer & Audrone Jakaitiene & Piotr Jelonek & António Rua & Gerhard Rünstler & Karsten Ruth & Christophe Van Nieuwenhuyze, 2008. "Short-term forecasting of GDP using large monthly datasets - a pseudo real-time forecast evaluation exercise," Occasional Paper Series 84, European Central Bank.
  9. 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.
  10. D'Agostino, Antonello & Domenico, Giannone & Surico, Paolo, 2006. "(Un)Predictability and Macroeconomic Stability," Research Technical Papers 5/RT/06, Central Bank of Ireland.
  11. Bernanke, Ben S. & Boivin, Jean, 2003. "Monetary policy in a data-rich environment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 525-546, April.
  12. Mario Forni & Marc Hallin & Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2003. "The Generalized Dynamic Factor Model. One-Sided Estimation and Forecasting," LEM Papers Series 2003/13, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  13. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Sala, Luca, 2005. "Monetary Policy in Real Time," CEPR Discussion Papers 4981, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    • Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & Luca Sala, 2005. "Monetary Policy in Real Time," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 161-224 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Catherine Dehon & Marjorie Gassner & Vincenzo Verardi, 2009. "Beware of 'Good' Outliers and Overoptimistic Conclusions," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(3), pages 437-452, 06.
  15. Banbura, Marta & Rünstler, Gerhard, 2011. "A look into the factor model black box: Publication lags and the role of hard and soft data in forecasting GDP," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 333-346, April.
  16. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 1995. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(3), pages 253-63, July.
  17. Durbin, James & Koopman, Siem Jan, 2001. "Time Series Analysis by State Space Methods," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198523543, May.
  18. D'Agostino, Antonello & Giannone, Domenico, 2007. "Comparing Alternative Predictors Based on Large-Panel Factor Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 6564, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Jean Boivin & Serena Ng, 2005. "Understanding and Comparing Factor-Based Forecasts," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(3), December.
  20. Fair, Ray C & Shiller, Robert J, 1990. "Comparing Information in Forecasts from Econometric Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 375-89, June.
  21. Faust, Jon & Wright, Jonathan H., 2009. "Comparing Greenbook and Reduced Form Forecasts Using a Large Realtime Dataset," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(4), pages 468-479.
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