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Outperforming IMF Forecasts by the Use of Leading Indicators

  • Katja Drechsel
  • S. Giesen
  • Axel Lindner

This study analyzes the performance of the IMF World Economic Outlook forecasts for world output and the aggregates of both the advanced economies and the emerging and developing economies. With a focus on the forecast for the current and the next year, we examine whether IMF forecasts can be improved by using leading indicators with monthly updates. Using a real-time dataset for GDP and for the indicators we find that some simple single-indicator forecasts on the basis of data that are available at higher frequency can significantly outperform the IMF forecasts if the publication of the Outlook is only a few months old.

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Paper provided by Halle Institute for Economic Research in its series IWH Discussion Papers with number 4.

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Date of creation: Apr 2014
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Handle: RePEc:iwh:dispap:4-14
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  1. Jakaitiene, Audrone & Dées, Stéphane, 2009. "Forecasting the world economy in the short-term," Working Paper Series 1059, European Central Bank.
  2. West, Kenneth D, 1996. "Asymptotic Inference about Predictive Ability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1067-84, September.
  3. Katja Drechsel & Rolf Scheufele, 2011. "The Financial Crisis from a Forecaster’s Perspective," IWH Discussion Papers 5, Halle Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Allan Timmermann, 2007. "An Evaluation of the World Economic Outlook Forecasts," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(1), pages 1-33, May.
  5. G. Elliott & C. Granger & A. Timmermann (ed.), 2006. "Handbook of Economic Forecasting," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1, March.
  6. Gerard van Welzenis & Wim Suyker, 2005. "Explanatory note on the CPB world trade series," CPB Memorandum 116, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  7. Roberto Golinelli & Giuseppe Parigi, 2013. "Tracking world trade and GDP in real time," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 920, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  8. Alessandro Borin & Riccardo Cristadoro & Roberto Golinelli & Giuseppe Parigi, 2012. "Forecasting world output: the rising importance of emerging economies," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 853, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  9. Arora, Harjit K. & Smyth, David J., 1990. "Forecasting the developing world : An accuracy analysis of the IMF's forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 393-400, October.
  10. Katja Drechsel & Laurent Maurin, 2011. "Flow of conjunctural information and forecast of euro area economic activity," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(3), pages 336-354, April.
  11. Axel Dreher & Silvia Marchesi & James Vreeland, 2008. "The political economy of IMF forecasts," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 145-171, October.
  12. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "The state of macroeconomic forecasting," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 435-468, December.
  13. Fildes, Robert & Stekler, Herman, 2002. "Reply to the comments on 'The state of macroeconomic forecasting'," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 503-505, December.
  14. Michael J. Artis, 1996. "How Accurate Are the Imf's Short-Term Forecasts? Another Examination of the World Economic Outlook," IMF Working Papers 96/89, International Monetary Fund.
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