Bańbura, Marta Giannone, Domenico Reichlin, Lucrezia
Year of Publication:
ECB Working Paper 1275
We define nowcasting as the prediction of the present, the very near future and the very recent past. Crucial in this process is to use timely monthly information in order to nowcast key economic variables, such as e.g. GDP, that are typically collected at low frequency and published with long delays. Until recently, nowcasting had received very little attention by the academic literature, although it was routinely conducted in policy institutions either through a judgemental process or on the basis of simple models. We argue that the nowcasting process goes beyond the simple production of an early estimate as it essentially requires the assessment of the impact of new data on the subsequent forecast revisions for the target variable. We design a statistical model which produces a sequence of nowcasts in relation to the real time releases of various economic data. The methodology allows to process a large amount of information, as it is traditionally done by practitioners using judgement, but it does it in a fully automatic way. In particular, it provides an explicit link between the news in consecutive data releases and the resulting forecast revisions. To illustrate our ideas, we study the nowcast of euro area GDP in the fourth quarter of 2008.