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Mr. Michael Stanger
Monthly economic indicators support policy analysis of current economic developments and forecasting. This paper presents an overview of the data and statistical requirements to develop those indicators taking into account resource constraints that LIC typically face. We review statistical procedures for developing these indicators under the System of National Accounts and propose a general procedure to derive a monthly composite indicator of economic growth in low income economies.
Mr. Nombulelo Gumata, Mr. Eliphas Ndou, and Nir Klein
The main purpose of this paper is to construct a financial conditions index (FCI) for South Africa. The analysis extracts the index by applying two alternative approaches (principal component analysis and Kalman filter), which identify an unobservable common factor from a group of external and domestic financial indicators. The alternative estimated FCIs, which share a similar trajectory over time, seem to have a powerful predictive information for the near-term GDP growth (up to four quarters), and they outperform the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) leading indicator as well as individual financial variables. Their recent dynamics suggest that following a strong recovery in late-2009 and 2010, reflecting in part domestic factors such as systematic reductions in the policy rate, the rebound in real economic activity, and a benign inflationary environment, the financial conditions have deteriorated in recent months, though not as sharply as in end-2008. Given their relatively high predictive power regarding GDP growth, a further deterioration may imply that economic activity is likely to slow in the period ahead.
Mrs. Ewa Gradzka and Mr. Shaun K. Roache
We use a range of methods and remittance data from 1990 to 2007 to assess the strength and significance of linkages between remittance flows to Latin America and the U.S. business cycle. All of the evidence suggests that remittance flows are relatively insensitive to fluctuations in the U.S. cycle, underlining their role as a stable source of external financing, in good times and bad. A number of factors, notwithstanding uncertainties related to official remittance data reliability, might explain this result, including remittance smoothing and flexible immigrant labor markets.
Alain N. Kabundi
This paper proposes a new way of computing a coincident indicator for economic activity in France using data from business surveys. We use the generalized dynamic factor model à la Forni and others (2000) to extract common components from a large number of survey observations. The results obtained show that the resulting indicator forecasts economic activity with a relatively high degree of accuracy before the release of actual data.
Mr. Alejandro Simone
Time series on economic activity in developing countries, in particular real GDP, are reported with important lags. Therefore, it is useful to construct indicators that coincide or lead the actual direction and level of economic activity. A general methodology to construct these indicators is proposed and adapted for Argentina. Three coincident indicators could be constructed, but no reliable leading indicator could be found. From an econometric standpoint, the coincident indicators produce satisfactory point estimates of real GDP. The series that enter the indicator are broadly consistent with what many economists believe is the main source of real GDP fluctuations in Argentina: shocks to the capital account of the balance of payments. This enhances the confidence in the econometric results.