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Nowcasting U.S. Headline and Core Inflation

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  • Edward S. Knotek
  • Saeed Zaman

Abstract

Forecasting future inflation and nowcasting contemporaneous inflation are difficult. We propose a new and parsimonious model for nowcasting headline and core inflation in the U.S. price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and the consumer price index (CPI). The model relies on relatively few variables and is tested using real-time data. The model?s nowcasting accuracy improves as information accumulates over the course of a month or quarter, and it easily outperforms a variety of statistical benchmarks. In head-to-head comparisons, the model?s nowcasts of CPI infl ation outperform those from the Blue Chip consensus, with especially significant outperformance as the quarter goes on. The model?s nowcasts for CPI and PCE inflation also significantly outperform those from the Survey of Professional Forecasters, with similar nowcasting accuracy for core inflation measures. Across all four inflation measures, the model?s nowcasting accuracy is generally comparable to that of the Federal Reserve?s Greenbook.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward S. Knotek & Saeed Zaman, 2014. "Nowcasting U.S. Headline and Core Inflation," Working Papers (Old Series) 1403, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1403
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    Cited by:

    1. Amy Higgins & Randal Verbrugge, 2015. "Tracking Trend Inflation: Nonseasonally Adjusted Variants of the Median and Trimmed-Mean CPI," Working Papers (Old Series) 1527, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    2. Tallman, Ellis W. & Zaman, Saeed, 2020. "Combining survey long-run forecasts and nowcasts with BVAR forecasts using relative entropy," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 373-398.
    3. Patrick C. Higgins, 2014. "GDPNow: A Model for GDP \"Nowcasting\"," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2014-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    4. Knotek, Edward S. & Zaman, Saeed, 2019. "Financial nowcasts and their usefulness in macroeconomic forecasting," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 1708-1724.
    5. Kim, Insu & Kim, Young Se, 2019. "Inattentive agents and inflation forecast error dynamics: A Bayesian DSGE approach," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    6. Garciga, Christian & Knotek II, Edward S., 2019. "Forecasting GDP growth with NIPA aggregates: In search of core GDP," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 1814-1828.
    7. Burcu Tunç & Burcu Çakmak & Cansu Gökçe Zeybek & Bruno Tissot, 2020. "Using financial accounts - a central banking perspective," IFC Bulletins chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.),Using financial accounts, volume 51, Bank for International Settlements.
    8. Jack Fosten & Daniel Gutknecht, 0. "Horizon confidence sets," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-26.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    inflation; nowcasting; forecasting; real-time data; professional forecasters; Greenbook.;

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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