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Financial Nowcasts and Their Usefulness in Macroeconomic Forecasting

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  • Edward S. Knotek
  • Saeed Zaman

Abstract

Financial data often contain information that is helpful for macroeconomic forecasting, while multistep forecast accuracy also benefits by incorporating good nowcasts of macroeconomic variables. This paper considers the role of nowcasts of financial variables in making conditional forecasts of real and nominal macroeconomic variables using standard quarterly Bayesian vector autoregressions (BVARs). For nowcasting the quarterly value of a variety of financial variables, we document that the average of the available daily data and a daily random walk forecast to fill in the missing days in the quarter typically outperforms other nowcasting approaches. Using real-time data and out-of-sample forecasting exercises, we find that the inclusion of financial variable nowcasts by themselves generally improves forecast accuracy for macroeconomic variables relative to unconditional forecasts, although we document several exceptions in which current-quarter forecast accuracy worsens with the inclusion of the financial nowcasts. Incorporating financial nowcasts and nowcasts of macroeconomic variables generally improves the forecast accuracy for all the macroeconomic indicators of interest, beyond including the nowcasts of the macroeconomic variables alone. Conditional forecasts generated from quarterly BVARs augmented with nowcasts of key financial variables rival the forecast accuracy of mixed-frequency dynamic factor models (MF-DFMs) and mixed-data sampling (MIDAS) models that explicitly link the quarterly data and forecasts to high-frequency financial data.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward S. Knotek & Saeed Zaman, 2017. "Financial Nowcasts and Their Usefulness in Macroeconomic Forecasting," Working Papers (Old Series) 1702, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1702
    DOI: 10.26509/frbc-wp-201702
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    1. June Reading List
      by Dave Giles in Econometrics Beat: Dave Giles' Blog on 2017-06-03 19:16:00

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    1. > Econometrics > Forecasting > Nowcasting

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    1. 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.
    2. Edward Knotek & Saeed Zaman, 2020. "Real-time density nowcasts of US inflation: a model-combination approach," Working Papers 2015, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. Brandyn Bok & Daniele Caratelli & Domenico Giannone & Argia M. Sbordone & Andrea Tambalotti, 2018. "Macroeconomic Nowcasting and Forecasting with Big Data," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 10(1), pages 615-643, August.
    5. Mahmut Gunay, 2020. "Nowcasting Turkish GDP with MIDAS: Role of Functional Form of the Lag Polynomial," Working Papers 2002, Research and Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    conditional forecasting; nowcasting; vector autoregressions; mixed-frequency models; Bayesian methods;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • G17 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Financial Forecasting and Simulation

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