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Forecasting the South African Inflation Rate: On Asymmetric Loss and Forecast Rationality

Author

Listed:
  • Christian Pierdzioch

    () (Department of Economics, Helmut-Schmidt-University)

  • Monique B. Reid

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Rangan Gupta

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria)

Abstract

Using forecasts of the inflation rate in South Africa, we study the rationality of forecasts and the shape of forecasters’ loss function. When we study micro-level data of individual forecasts, we find mixed evidence of an asymmetric loss function, suggesting that inflation forecasters are heterogeneous with respect to the shape of their loss function. We also find strong evidence that inflation forecasts are in line with forecast rationality. When we pool the data, and study sectoral inflation forecasts of financial analysts, trade unions, and the business sector, we find evidence for asymmetry in the loss function, and against forecast rationality. Upon comparing the micro-level results with those for pooled and sectoral data, we conclude that forecast rationality should be assessed based on micro-level data, and that freer access to this data would allow more rigorous analysis and discussion of the information content of the surveys.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Pierdzioch & Monique B. Reid & Rangan Gupta, 2014. "Forecasting the South African Inflation Rate: On Asymmetric Loss and Forecast Rationality," Working Papers 26/2014, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers231
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    File URL: https://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2014/wp262014/wp-26-2014.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pierdzioch, Christian & Rülke, Jan-Christoph & Tillmann, Peter, 2016. "Using Forecasts To Uncover The Loss Function Of Federal Open Market Committee Members," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(03), pages 791-818, April.
    2. Fritsche, Ulrich & Pierdzioch, Christian & Rülke, Jan-Christoph & Stadtmann, Georg, 2015. "Forecasting the Brazilian real and the Mexican peso: Asymmetric loss, forecast rationality, and forecaster herding," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 130-139.
    3. Graham Elliott & Allan Timmermann & Ivana Komunjer, 2005. "Estimation and Testing of Forecast Rationality under Flexible Loss," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 1107-1125.
    4. Roberts, John M., 1997. "Is inflation sticky?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 173-196, July.
    5. Alain Kabundi & Eric Schaling, 2013. "Inflation and Inflation Expectations in South Africa: an Attempt at Explanation," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 81(3), pages 346-355, September.
    6. Rich, Robert W, 1989. "Testing the Rationality of Inflation Forecasts from Survey Data: Another Look at the SRC Expected Price Change Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(4), pages 682-686, November.
    7. Keane, Michael P & Runkle, David E, 1990. "Testing the Rationality of Price Forecasts: New Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 714-735, September.
    8. David Laster & Paul Bennett & In Sun Geoum, 1999. "Rational Bias in Macroeconomic Forecasts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 293-318.
    9. Patton, Andrew J. & Timmermann, Allan, 2007. "Testing Forecast Optimality Under Unknown Loss," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 102, pages 1172-1184, December.
    10. Jörg Döpke & Ulrich Fritsche & Boriss Siliverstovs, 2010. "Evaluating German business cycle forecasts under an asymmetric loss function," OECD Journal: Journal of Business Cycle Measurement and Analysis, OECD Publishing, Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys, vol. 2010(1), pages 1-18.
    11. Ricardo Nunes, 2010. "Inflation Dynamics: The Role of Expectations," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(6), pages 1161-1172, September.
    12. Graham Elliott & Ivana Komunjer & Allan Timmermann, 2008. "Biases in Macroeconomic Forecasts: Irrationality or Asymmetric Loss?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 122-157, March.
    13. Figlewski, Stephen & Wachtel, Paul, 1981. "The Formation of Inflationary Expectations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 1-10, February.
    14. Fildes, Robert, 2015. "Forecasters and rationality—A comment on Fritsche et al., Forecasting the Brazilian Real and Mexican Peso: Asymmetric loss, forecast rationality and forecaster herding," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 140-143.
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    Keywords

    inflation rate; forecasting; loss function; rationality;

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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