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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is still unfolding around the globe. In Asia, as elsewhere, the virus has ebbed in some countries but surged in others. The global economy is beginning to recover after a sharp contraction in the second quarter of 2020, as nationwide lockdowns are lifted and replaced with more targeted containment measures.

Mr. Sergi Lanau, Adrian Robles, and Mr. Frederik G Toscani
We study inflation dynamics in Colombia using a bottom-up Phillips curve approach. This allows us to capture the different drivers of individual inflation components. We find that the Phillips curve is relatively flat in Colombia but steeper than recent estimates for the U.S. Supply side shocks play an important role for tradable and food prices, while indexation dynamics are important for non-tradable goods. We show that besides allowing for a more detailed understanding of inflation drivers, the bottom-up approach also improves on an aggregate Phillips curve in terms of forecasting ability. In the baseline forecast scenario, both headline and core inflation converge towards the Central Bank’s inflation target of 3 percent by end-2018 but these favorable inflation dynamics are vulnerable to large supply shocks.
Mr. Serhat Solmaz and Marzie Taheri Sanjani
External headwinds, together with domestic vulnerabilities, have loomed over the prospects of emerging markets in recent years. We propose an empirical toolbox to quantify the impact of external macro-financial shocks on domestic economies in parsimonious way. Our model is a Bayesian VAR consisting of two blocks representing home and foreign factors, which is particularly useful for small open economies. By exploiting the mixed-frequency nature of the model, we show how the toolbox can be used for “nowcasting” the output growth. The conditional forecast results illustrate that regular updates of external information, as well as domestic leading indicators, would significantly enhance the accuracy of forecasts. Moreover, the analysis of variance decompositions shows that external shocks are important drivers of the domestic business cycle.
Giang Ho and Mr. Paolo Mauro
Forecasters often predict continued rapid economic growth into the medium and long term for countries that have recently experienced strong growth. Using long-term forecasts of economic growth from the IMF/World Bank staff Debt Sustainability Analyses for a panel of countries, we show that the baseline forecasts are more optimistic than warranted by past international growth experience. Further, by comparing the IMF’s World Economic Outlook forecasts with actual growth outcomes, we show that optimism bias is greater the longer the forecast horizon.
Mr. Olivier Coibion and Mr. Yuriy Gorodnichenko
We propose a new approach to test the full-information rational expectations hypothesis which can identify whether rejections of the arise from information rigidities. This approach quantifies the economic significance of departures from the and the underlying degree of information rigidity. Applying this approach to U.S. and international data of professional forecasters and other agents yields pervasive evidence consistent with the presence of information rigidities. These results therefore provide a set of stylized facts which can be used to calibrate imperfect information models. Finally, we document evidence of state-dependence in the expectations formation process.
International Monetary Fund

In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.

ALLAN TIMMERMANN

This paper conducts a series of statistical tests to evaluate the quality of the World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecasts for a very large cross section of countries. It assesses whether forecasts were unbiased and informationally efficient, characterizes the process whereby WEO forecasts get revised as the predicted period draws closer, and compares the precision of the WEO forecasts to private sector forecasts known as “consensus forecasts” and published by Consensus Economics on a monthly basis. The results suggest that the performance of the WEO forecasts is similar to that of the consensus forecasts. IMF Staff Papers (2007) 54, 1–33. doi:10.1057/palgrave.imfsp.9450007

Mr. Angel J. Ubide and Mr. Kevin Ross
Assessing the magnitude of the output gap is critical to achieving an optimal policy mix. Unfortunately, the gap is an unobservable variable, which, in practice, has been estimated in a variety of ways, depending on the preferences of the modeler. This model selection problem leads to a substantial degree of uncertainty regarding the magnitude of the output gap, which can reduce its usefulness as a policy tool. To overcome this problem, in this paper we attempt to insert some discipline into this search by providing two metrics-inflation forecasting and business cycle dating-against which different options can be evaluated using aggregated euro-area GDP data. Our results suggest that Gali, Gertler, and Lopez-Salido's (2001) inefficiency wedge performs best in inflation forecasting and production function methodology dominates in the prediction of turning points. If, however, a unique methodology must be selected, the quadratic trend delivers the best overall results.