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Can forward rates be used to improve interest rate forecasts?"

We evaluate the extent to which the explanatory power detected in the term structure in different markets and countries can actually be used to produce sensible forecasts of future short-term interest rates. Specifically, in spite of the forecasting connotation of the unbiasedness property of forward rates, actual evaluation of their forecasting performance has received scant attention in the literature on the term structure. We use monthly data for 1978-1998 on interest rates on Eurodeposits on the US dollar, yen, Deutsche mark, British pound, Spanish peseta, French franc, Italian lira and Swiss franc, comparing forecasts obtained from forward rates to those obtained from univariate autoregressions. By themselves, forward rates produce better one-step ahead forecasts, as well as better once-and-for all forecasts of 1-month interest rates over a full year horizon than those obtained from the own past of interest rates. The gain in one-step ahead forecasting disappears for longer maturities, although forward rates still produce better once-and-for all predictions of 3- and 6-month interest rates than univariate autoregressions for a number of currencies.

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Paper provided by Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico in its series Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE with number 0225.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucm:doicae:0225
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  1. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell & Kermit L. Schoenholtz, 1983. "Forward Rates and Future Policy: Interpreting the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 667, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Philippe Jorion & Frederic Mishkin, 1991. "A Multi-Country Comparison of Term Structure Forecasts at Long Horizons," NBER Working Papers 3574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Mankiw, N Gregory & Miron, Jeffrey A, 1986. "The Changing Behavior of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 211-28, May.
  4. Fama, Eugene F., 1990. "Term-structure forecasts of interest rates, inflation and real returns," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 59-76, January.
  5. Mishkin, Frederic S, 1988. "The Information in the Term Structure: Some Further Results," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 3(4), pages 307-14, October-D.
  6. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1986. "Cointegration and Tests of Present Value Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 785, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Fama, Eugene F., 1976. "Forward rates as predictors of future spot rates," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 361-377, October.
  8. Wahab, Mahmoud, 1997. "On risk, rationality and the predictive ability of European short-term adjusted yield spreads," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 737-765, September.
  9. N. Gregory Mankiw & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "Do Long-Term Interest Rates Overreact to Short-Term Interest Rates?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(1), pages 223-248.
  10. Richard Deaves, 1996. "Forecasting Canadian Short-Term Interest Rates," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 615-34, August.
  11. 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.
  12. Fama, Eugene F., 1984. "The information in the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 509-528, December.
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