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Nowcasting Business Cycles Using Toll Data

  • Askitas, Nikos

    ()

    (IZA)

  • Zimmermann, Klaus F.

    ()

    (IZA and University of Bonn)

Nowcasting has been a challenge in the recent economic crisis. We introduce the Toll Index, a new monthly indicator for business cycle forecasting and demonstrate its relevance using German data. The index measures the monthly transportation activity performed by heavy transport vehicles across the country and has highly desirable availability properties (insignificant revisions, short publication lags) as a result of the innovative technology underlying its data collection. It is coincident with production activity due to the prevalence of just-in-time delivery. The Toll Index is a good early indicator of production as measured for instance by the German Production Index, provided by the German Statistical Office, which is a well-known leading indicator of the Gross National Product. The proposed new index is an excellent example of technological, innovation-driven economic telemetry, which we suggest should be established more around the world.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5522.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Forecasting, 2013, 32 (4), 299-306, Article
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5522
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  1. Schumacher, Christian & Breitung, Jörg, 2008. "Real-time forecasting of German GDP based on a large factor model with monthly and quarterly data," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 386-398.
  2. Laurent Ferrara & Dominique Guegan & Patrick Rakotomarolahy, 2009. "GDP nowcasting with ragged-edge data : A semi-parametric modelling," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00344839, HAL.
  3. Tom Stark & Dean Croushore, 2001. "Forecasting with a real-time data set for macroeconomists," Working Papers 01-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. Eric Ghysels & Arthur Sinko & Rossen Valkanov, 2007. "MIDAS Regressions: Further Results and New Directions," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(1), pages 53-90.
  5. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David, 2005. "Nowcasting GDP and Inflation: The Real Time Informational Content of Macroeconomic Data Releases," CEPR Discussion Papers 5178, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Nikolay Robinzonov & Klaus Wohlrabe, 2008. "Freedom of Choice in Macroeconomic Forecasting: An Illustration with German Industrial Production and Linear Models," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 57, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
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