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Identifying a financial conditions index for South Africa


  • Kirsten Thompson

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria)

  • Renee van Eyden

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria)

  • Rangan Gupta

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria)


The global financial crisis that began in 2007-08 demonstrated how severe the impact of financial markets’ stress on real economic activity can be. In the wake of the financial crisis policy-makers and decision-makers across the world identified the critical need for a better understanding of financial conditions, and more importantly, their impact on the real economy. To this end, we have constructed a financial conditions index (FCI) for the South African economy, to enable the gauging of financial conditions and to better understand the macro-financial linkages in the country. The FCI is constructed using monthly data over the period 1966 to 2011, and is based on a set of sixteen financial variables, which include variables that define the state of international financial markets, asset prices, interest rate spreads, stock market yields and volatility, bond market volatility and monetary aggregates. We explore different methodologies for constructing the FCI, and find that rolling-window principal components analysis (PCA) yields the best result. We furthermore investigate whether it is beneficial to purge the FCI of the real effects of inflation, economic growth and interest rates, and use the identified FCI in in-sample causality testing with three macroeconomic variables.

Suggested Citation

  • Kirsten Thompson & Renee van Eyden & Rangan Gupta, 2013. "Identifying a financial conditions index for South Africa," Working Papers 201333, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:pre:wpaper:201333

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kilian, Lutz, 1999. "Exchange Rates and Monetary Fundamentals: What Do We Learn from Long-Horizon Regressions?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(5), pages 491-510, Sept.-Oct.
    2. Alberto Montagnoli & Oreste Napolitano, 2004. "Financial Condition Index and interest rate settings: a comparative analysis," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2004 1, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
    3. Castro, Vítor, 2008. "Are Central Banks following a linear or nonlinear (augmented) Taylor rule?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 872, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. Koop, Gary & Korobilis, Dimitris, 2014. "A new index of financial conditions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 101-116.
    5. Kasai Ndahiriwe & Ruthira Naraidoo, 2011. "The Opportunistic approach to monetary policy and financial markets," Working Papers 201103, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    6. Scott Brave & R. Andrew Butters, 2011. "Monitoring financial stability: a financial conditions index approach," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 22-43.
    7. David E. Rapach & Christian E. Weber, 2004. "Financial Variables and the Simulated Out-of-Sample Forecastability of U.S. Output Growth Since 1985: An Encompassing Approach," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(4), pages 717-738, October.
    8. Serena Ng & Pierre Perron, 2001. "LAG Length Selection and the Construction of Unit Root Tests with Good Size and Power," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1519-1554, November.
    9. Sydney C. Ludvigson & Serena Ng, 2009. "Macro Factors in Bond Risk Premia," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(12), pages 5027-5067, December.
    10. Jan Hatzius & Peter Hooper & Frederic S. Mishkin & Kermit L. Schoenholtz & Mark W. Watson, 2010. "Financial Conditions Indexes: A Fresh Look after the Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 16150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Umit Bulut, 2016. "Do Financial Conditions have a Predictive Power on Inflation in Turkey?," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 6(2), pages 621-628.
    2. repec:mes:emfitr:v:51:y:2015:i:3:p:486-501 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kirsten Thompson & Reneé van Eyden & Rangan Gupta, 2015. "Testing the Out-of-Sample Forecasting Ability of a Financial Conditions Index for South Africa," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(3), pages 486-501, May.

    More about this item


    financial conditions; financial crisis; principal components;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises

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