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Nowcasting and forecasting GDP in emerging markets using global financial and macroeconomic diffusion indexes

Oguzhan Cepni, I. Ethem Güney and Norman Swanson ()

International Journal of Forecasting, 2019, vol. 35, issue 2, 555-572

Abstract: This paper contributes to the nascent literature on nowcasting and forecasting GDP in emerging market economies using big data methods. This is done by analyzing the usefulness of various dimension-reduction, machine learning and shrinkage methods, including sparse principal component analysis (SPCA), the elastic net, the least absolute shrinkage operator, and least angle regression when constructing predictions using latent global macroeconomic and financial factors (diffusion indexes) in a dynamic factor model (DFM). We also utilize a judgmental dimension-reduction method called the Bloomberg Relevance Index (BRI), which is an index that assigns a measure of importance to each variable in a dataset depending on the variable’s usage by market participants. Our empirical analysis shows that, when specified using dimension-reduction methods (particularly BRI and SPCA), DFMs yield superior predictions relative to both benchmark linear econometric models and simple DFMs. Moreover, global financial and macroeconomic (business cycle) diffusion indexes constructed using targeted predictors are found to be important in four of the five emerging market economies that we study (Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and Turkey). These findings point to the importance of spillover effects across emerging market economies, and underscore the significance of characterizing such linkages parsimoniously when utilizing high-dimensional global datasets.

Keywords: Diffusion index; Dimension reduction methods; Emerging markets; Factor model; Forecasting; Variable selection (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ijforecast.2018.10.008

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