IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Corporate bond spreads and real activity in the euro area - Least Angle Regression forecasting and the probability of the recession

  • Buchmann, Marco
Registered author(s):

    This paper aims at providing a detailed analysis of the leading indicator properties of corporate bond spreads for real economic activity in the euro area. In- and out-of-sample predictive content of corporate bond spreads are examined along three dimensions: the bonds’ quality , their term to maturity, as well as the forecast horizon at which one intends to predict a change in real activity. Numerous alternative leading indicators capturing macroeconomic and financial conditions are included in the analysis. Along with standard time series forecast models, the Least Angle Regression (LAR) technique is used to build multivariate models recursively. Models built via LAR can be used to produce forecasts and allow one to analyze how the composition and the number of relevant model variables evolve over time. Corporate bond spreads turn out to be valuable predictors for real activity, in particular at forecast horizons beyond one year; Medium risk bond spreads with maturities between 5 and 10 years appear particularly rich in content. The spreads also belong to the group of indicators that implied the highest probability of a recession occurring from a pre-crisis perspective. JEL Classification: E32, E37, E44, G32

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1286.

    in new window

    Date of creation: Jan 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20111286
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    60640 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

    Phone: +49 69 1344 0
    Fax: +49 69 1344 6000
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
    2. Gelain, Paolo, 2010. "The external finance premium in the euro area A useful indicator for monetary policy?," Working Paper Series 1171, European Central Bank.
    3. Marcelle Chauvet & Simon Potter, 2005. "Forecasting recessions using the yield curve," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(2), pages 77-103.
    4. Raffaella Giacomini & Barbara Rossi, 2006. "How Stable is the Forecasting Performance of the Yield Curve for Output Growth?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 68(s1), pages 783-795, December.
    5. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Non-Monetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in the Propagation of the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 1054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. De Graeve, Ferre, 2008. "The external finance premium and the macroeconomy: US post-WWII evidence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 3415-3440, November.
    7. (Kim | Lopez-Salido | Swanson) & Andrew Levin, 2004. "The magnitude and Cyclical Behavior of Financial Market Frictions," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 224, Society for Computational Economics.
    8. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2001. "Forecasting output and inflation: the role of asset prices," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
    9. Engemann, Kristie M. & Kliesen, Kevin L. & Owyang, Michael T., 2011. "Do Oil Shocks Drive Business Cycles? Some U.S. And International Evidence," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(S3), pages 498-517, November.
    10. Mody, Ashoka & Taylor, Mark P., 2004. "Financial predictors of real activity and the financial accelerator," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 167-172, February.
    11. Sharon Kozicki, 1997. "Predicting real growth and inflation with the yield spread," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 39-57.
    12. Simon Gilchrist & Vladimir Yankov & Egon Zakrajsek, 2009. "Credit Market Shocks and Economic Fluctuations: Evidence from Corporate Bond and Stock Markets," NBER Working Papers 14863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Clark, Todd E. & West, Kenneth D., 2007. "Approximately normal tests for equal predictive accuracy in nested models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 138(1), pages 291-311, May.
    14. Iryna V. Ivaschenko & Jorge A Chan-Lau, 2001. "Corporate Bond Risk and Real Activity; An Empirical Analysis of Yield Spreads and Their Systematic Components," IMF Working Papers 01/158, International Monetary Fund.
    15. Fabio Panetta & Paolo Angelini & Ugo Albertazzi & Francesco Columba & Wanda Cornacchia & Antonio Di Cesare & Andrea Pilati & Carmelo Salleo & Giovanni Santini, 2009. "Financial sector pro-cyclicality: lessons from the crisis," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 44, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    16. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1990. "Financial Fragility and Economic Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 87-114.
    17. John V. Duca, 1999. "What credit market indicators tell us," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q III, pages 2-13.
    18. Ben S. Bernanke & Alan S. Blinder, 1989. "The federal funds rate and the channels of monetary transmission," Working Papers 89-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    19. de Bondt, Gabe & Hahn, Elke, 2010. "Predicting recessions and recoveries in real time: The euro area-wide leading indicator (ALI)," Working Paper Series 1246, European Central Bank.
    20. Jonathan H. Wright, 2006. "The yield curve and predicting recessions," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-07, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    21. Gabe De Bondt, 2005. "Determinants of corporate debt securities in the Euro area," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(6), pages 493-509.
    22. Thomas B. King & Andrew T. Levin & Roberto Perli, 2007. "Financial market perceptions of recession risk," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-57, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    23. Tobias Adrian & Hyun Song Shin, 2008. "Liquidity and leverage," Staff Reports 328, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    24. Gabe de Bondt, 2009. "Predictive content of the stock market for output revisited," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(13), pages 1289-1294.
    25. Plosser, Charles I. & Geert Rouwenhorst, K., 1994. "International term structures and real economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 133-155, February.
    26. Raphael Espinoza & Fabio Fornari & Marco J. Lombardi, 2012. "The Role of Financial Variables in predicting economic activity," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(1), pages 15-46, 01.
    27. Bernanke, B. & Gertler, M. & Gilchrist, S., 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," Working Papers 98-03, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    28. Badarinza, Cristian & Buchmann, Marco, 2009. "Inflation perceptions and expectations in the euro area: the role of news," Working Paper Series 1088, European Central Bank.
    29. Gabe de Bondt, 2004. "The balance sheet channel of monetary policy: first empirical evidence for the euro area corporate bond market," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(3), pages 219-228.
    30. Davis, E Philip & Fagan, Gabriel, 1997. "Are Financial Spreads Useful Indicators of Future Inflation and Output Growth in EU Countries?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(6), pages 701-14, Nov.-Dec..
    31. Thomas Philippon, 2009. "The Bond Market's q," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1011-1056.
    32. Guha, Debashis & Hiris, Lorene, 2002. "The aggregate credit spread and the business cycle," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 219-227.
    33. Fama, Eugene F., 1990. "Term-structure forecasts of interest rates, inflation and real returns," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 59-76, January.
    34. Robert J. Gordon, 1998. "Foundations of the Goldilocks Economy: Supply Shocks and the Time-Varying NAIRU," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 297-346.
    35. James E. Matheson & Robert L. Winkler, 1976. "Scoring Rules for Continuous Probability Distributions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(10), pages 1087-1096, June.
    36. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1990. "The Information in the Longer Maturity Term Structure about Future Inflation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 815-828.
    37. Schneider, Ulrike & Wagner, Martin, 2008. "Catching Growth Determinants with the Adaptive LASSO," Economics Series 232, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    38. Stock J.H. & Watson M.W., 2002. "Forecasting Using Principal Components From a Large Number of Predictors," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 97, pages 1167-1179, December.
    39. Jane Haltmaier, 2008. "Predicting cycles in economic activity," International Finance Discussion Papers 926, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    40. Arturo Estrella & Gikas A. Hardouvelis, 1989. "The term structure as a predictor of real economic activity," Research Paper 8907, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    41. de Bondt, Gabe, 2002. "Euro area corporate debt securities market: first empirical evidence," Working Paper Series 0164, European Central Bank.
    42. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1989. "New Indexes of Coincident and Leading Economic Indicators," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 351-409 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    43. Fornari, Fabio & Lemke, Wolfgang, 2010. "Predicting recession probabilities with financial variables over multiple horizons," Working Paper Series 1255, European Central Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20111286. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Official Publications)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.