Testing the Out-of-Sample Forecasting Ability of a Financial Conditions Index for South Africa
The importance of financial instability for the world economy has been severely demonstrated since the 2007/08 global financial crisis, highlighting the need for a better understanding of financial conditions. We use a financial conditions index (FCI) for South Africa previously constructed from 16 financial variables to test whether the rolling-window estimated FCI does better than its individual financial components in forecasting key macroeconomic variables, such as output growth, inflation and interest rates. The concept of forecast encompassing is used to examine the forecasting ability of these variables controlling for data-mining. We find that the rolling-window estimated FCI has out-of-sample forecasting ability with respect to manufacturing output growth at the one, three and six month horizons, but has no forecasting ability with respect to inflation and interest rates.
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