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High Dimensional Yield Curves: Models and Forecasting

  • Clive G. Bowsher


  • Roland Meeks


Functional Signal plus Noise (FSN) models are proposed for analysing the dynamics of a large cross-section of yields or asset prices in which contemporaneous observations are functionally related. The FSN models are used to forecast high dimensional yield curves for US Treasury bonds at the one month ahead horizon. The models achieve large reductions in mean square forecast errors relative to a random walk for yields and readily dominate both the Diebold and Li (2006) and random walk forecasts across all maturities studied. We show that the Expectations Theory (ET) of the term structure completely determines the conditional mean of any zero-coupon yield curve. This enables a novel evaluation of the ET in which its 1-step ahead forecasts are compared with those of rival methods such as the FSN models, with the results strongly supporting the growing body of empirical evidence against the ET. Yield spreads do provide important information for forecasting the yield curve, especially in the case of shorter maturities, but not in the manner prescribed by the Expectations Theory.

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Paper provided by Oxford Financial Research Centre in its series OFRC Working Papers Series with number 2006fe11.

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Length: 37
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sbs:wpsefe:2006fe11
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  1. Koopman, S.J.M. & Shephard, N. & Doornik, J.A., 1998. "Statistical Algorithms for Models in State Space Using SsfPack 2.2," Discussion Paper 1998-141, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. repec:clu:wpaper:0405-18 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Gregory R. Duffee, 2002. "Term Premia and Interest Rate Forecasts in Affine Models," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 405-443, 02.
  4. Fama, Eugene F & Bliss, Robert R, 1987. "The Information in Long-Maturity Forward Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 680-92, September.
  5. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2005. "Bond Risk Premia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 138-160, March.
  6. Swanson, Norman R & White, Halbert, 1995. "A Model-Selection Approach to Assessing the Information in the Term Structure Using Linear Models and Artificial Neural Networks," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(3), pages 265-75, July.
  7. Francis X. Diebold & Canlin Li, 2002. "Forecasting the Term Structure of Government Bond Yields," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-34, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  8. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1991. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 495-514, May.
  9. McCulloch, J Huston, 1971. "Measuring the Term Structure of Interest Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 19-31, January.
  10. Clive Bowsher & Roland Meeks, 2006. "The Impossibility of Stationary Yield Spreads and I(1) Yields under the Expectations Theory of the Term Structure," Economics Series Working Papers 2006-W05, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  11. Philippe C. Besse, 2000. "Autoregressive Forecasting of Some Functional Climatic Variations," Scandinavian Journal of Statistics, Danish Society for Theoretical Statistics;Finnish Statistical Society;Norwegian Statistical Association;Swedish Statistical Association, vol. 27(4), pages 673-687.
  12. Diebold, Francis X. & Rudebusch, Glenn D. & Borag[caron]an Aruoba, S., 2006. "The macroeconomy and the yield curve: a dynamic latent factor approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 131(1-2), pages 309-338.
  13. Hall, Anthony D & Anderson, Heather M & Granger, Clive W J, 1992. "A Cointegration Analysis of Treasury Bill Yields," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 116-26, February.
  14. Ang, Andrew & Piazzesi, Monika, 2003. "A no-arbitrage vector autoregression of term structure dynamics with macroeconomic and latent variables," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 745-787, May.
  15. Shea, Gary S, 1992. "Benchmarking the Expectations Hypothesis of the Interest-Rate Term Structure: An Analysis of Cointegration Vectors," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(3), pages 347-66, July.
  16. Nelson, Charles R & Siegel, Andrew F, 1987. "Parsimonious Modeling of Yield Curves," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(4), pages 473-89, October.
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