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Short-term forecasts of euro area real GDP growth: an assessment of real-time performance based on vintage data

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  • Diron, Marie

Abstract

Economic policy makers, international organisations and private-sector forecasters commonly use short-term forecasts of real GDP growth based on monthly indicators, such as industrial production, retail sales and confidence surveys. An assessment of the reliability of such tools and of the source of potential forecast errors is essential. While many studies have evaluated the size of forecast errors related to model specifications and unavailability of data in real time, few have provided a complete assessment of forecast errors, which should notably take into account the impact of data revision. This paper proposes to bridge this gap. Using four years of data vintages for euro area conjunctural indicators, the paper decomposes forecast errors into four elements (model specification, erroneous extrapolations of the monthly indicators, revisions to the monthly indicators and revisions to the GDP data series) and assesses their relative sizes. The results show that gains in accuracy of forecasts achieved by using monthly data on actual activity rather than surveys or financial indicators are offset by the fact that the former set of monthly data is harder to forecast and less timely than the latter set. While the results presented in the paper remain tentative due to limited data availability, they provide a benchmark which future research may build on. JEL Classification: C22, C53, E17, E37, E66

Suggested Citation

  • Diron, Marie, 2006. "Short-term forecasts of euro area real GDP growth: an assessment of real-time performance based on vintage data," Working Paper Series 622, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:2006622
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    File URL: https://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/pdf/scpwps/ecbwp622.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Filippo Altissimo & Antonio Bassanetti & Riccardo Cristadoro & Mario Forni & Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin & Giovanni Veronese, 2001. "A real time coincident indicator of the euro area business cycle," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 436, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-144, January.
    3. 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.
    4. Baffigi, Alberto & Golinelli, Roberto & Parigi, Giuseppe, 2004. "Bridge models to forecast the euro area GDP," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 447-460.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    bridge equations; Conjunctural analysis; forecasting; real-time forecasting; vintage data.;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E66 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General Outlook and Conditions

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