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International Monetary Fund

The paper discusses the purpose, properties, and theoretical foundations of various indicators of inflation and also describes the forecasting methodology and performance of these indicators. It reviews the successful European labor market reform experiences and analyzes regulatory and supervisory frameworks in the European Union (EU), and assessments carried out under the IMF-World Bank Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP). It also investigates whether the cross-country correlation of bank business in Europe makes a good case for pan-European supervision.

Ms. G. C. Lim and Guy Debelle
Monetary policy in the Philippines has had multiple objectives. Moreover, shifts in money demand and the money multiplier have made base money a less reliable anchor for monetary policy. Hence, on present policies, a steady reduction in inflation is not assured, and changes to the monetary policy framework should be considered. This paper reviews the benefits as well as the constraints of an inflation targeting framework and the necessary preconditions--both in terms of the institutional infrastructure and the appropriate inflation target--for its successful implementation, including the ability to forecast inflation reasonably well over policy-relevant time horizons.
Turgut Kisinbay
Using realized volatility to estimate conditional variance of financial returns, we compare forecasts of volatility from linear GARCH models with asymmetric ones. We consider horizons extending to 30 days. Forecasts are compared using three different evaluation tests. With data from an equity index and two foreign exchange returns, we show that asymmetric models provide statistically significant forecast improvements upon the GARCH model for two of the datasets and improve forecasts for all datasets by means of forecasts combinations. These results extend to about 10 days in the future, beyond which the forecasts are statistically inseparable from each other.
Mr. Vivek B. Arora
The transparency of monetary policy in South Africa has increased substantially since the end of the 1990s; but little empirical work has been done to examine the economic benefits of the increased transparency. This paper shows that, in recent years, South African private sector forecasters have become better able to forecast interest rates, are less surprised by reserve bank policy announcements, and are less diverse in the cross-sectional variety of their interest rate forecasts. In addition, there is some evidence that the accuracy of inflation forecasts has increased. The improvements in interest rate and inflation forecasts have exceeded those in real output forecasts, suggesting that increases in reserve bank transparency are likely to have played a role.
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. Francis Y Kumah
Adequate modeling of the seasonal structure of consumer prices is essential for inflation forecasting. This paper suggests a new econometric approach for jointly determining inflation forecasts and monetary policy stances, particularly where seasonal fluctuations of economic activity and prices are pronounced. In an application of the framework, the paper characterizes and investigates the stability of the seasonal pattern of consumer prices in the Kyrgyz Republic and estimates optimal money growth and implied exchange rate paths along with a jointly determined inflation forecast. The approach uses two broad specifications of an augmented error-correction model-with and without seasonal components. Findings from the paper confirm empirical superiority (in terms of information content and contributions to policymaking) of augmented error-correction models of inflation over single-equation, Box-Jenkins-type general autoregressive seasonal models. Simulations of the estimated errorcorrection models yield optimal monetary policy paths for achieving inflation targets and demonstrate the empirical significance of seasonality and monetary policy in inflation forecasting.
Mr. Ales Bulir, Jaromír Hurník, and Katerina Smidkova
We offer a novel methodology for assessing the quality of inflation reports. In contrast to the existing literature, which mostly evaluates the formal quality of these reports, we evaluate their economic content by comparing inflation factors reported by the central banks with ex-post model-identified factors. Regarding the former, we use verbal analysis and coding of inflation reports to describe inflation factors communicated by central banks in real time. Regarding the latter, we use reduced-form, new Keynesian models and revised data to approximate the true inflation factors. Positive correlations indicate that the reported inflation factors were similar to the true, model-identified ones and hence mark high-quality inflation reports. Although central bank reports on average identify inflation factors correctly, the degree of forward-looking reporting varies across factors, time, and countries.
Klaus-Peter Hellwig
I regress real GDP growth rates on the IMF’s growth forecasts and find that IMF forecasts behave similarly to those generated by overfitted models, placing too much weight on observable predictors and underestimating the forces of mean reversion. I identify several such variables that explain forecasts well but are not predictors of actual growth. I show that, at long horizons, IMF forecasts are little better than a forecasting rule that uses no information other than the historical global sample average growth rate (i.e., a constant). Given the large noise component in forecasts, particularly at longer horizons, the paper calls into question the usefulness of judgment-based medium and long-run forecasts for policy analysis, including for debt sustainability assessments, and points to statistical methods to improve forecast accuracy by taking into account the risk of overfitting.
Mr. Toshitaka Sekine
This paper estimates an inflation function and forecasts one-year ahead inflation for Japan. It finds that (i) markup relationships, excess money and the output gap are particularly relevant long-run determinants for an equilibrium correction model (EqCM) of inflation; (ii) with intercept corrections, one-year ahead inflation forecast performance of the EqCM is good; and (iii) forecast accuracy can be improved by combining forecasts of the EqCM with those made by rival models. The EqCM obtained would serve for structural model-based inflation forecasting. It also highlights the importance of adjustment to a pure model-based forecast by utilizing information of alternative models. The methodology employed is applicable to a wider range of countries including some emerging market economies.
Mr. Eric Parrado
The Monetary Authority of Singapore, instead of relying on short-term interest rates or monetary aggregates as its monetary policy instrument, conducts policy by managing the trade-weighted exchange rate index (TWI). This paper investigates how this operating procedure actually works. For empirical purposes, it assumes the authorities follow a reaction function that aims the TWI at stabilizing expected inflation and maintaining output at potential. A partial adjustment mechanism is included to dampen the actual changes in the exchange rate. The estimates confirm that the major focus of monetary policy in Singapore is controlling inflation. The estimated changes in the TWI track the actual change relatively well, and the estimated parameters are as expected. Accordingly, they support the hypothesis that monetary policy in Singapore can be described by a forward-looking policy rule that reacts to both inflation and output volatility. The results suggest that Singapore's monetary policy has mainly reacted to large deviations in the target variables, which is consistent with monetary policy's medium-term orientation.