The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Macroeconomic policy decisions in real-time are based the assessment of current and future economic conditions. These assessments are made difficult by the presence of incomplete and noisy data. The problem is more acute for emerging market economies, where most economic data are released infrequently with a (sometimes substantial) lag. This paper evaluates "nowcasts" and forecasts of real GDP growth using five alternative models for ten Latin American countries. The results indicate that the flow of monthly data helps to improve forecast accuracy, and the dynamic factor model consistently produces more accurate nowcasts and forecasts relative to other model specifications, across most of the countries we consider.