Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/154645
Authors: 
Galbraith, John W.
Tkacz, Greg
Year of Publication: 
2015
Series/Report no.: 
ECB Statistics Paper 10
Abstract: 
We assess the usefulness of a large set of electronic payments data comprising debit and credit card transactions, as well as cheques that clear through the banking system, as potential indicators of current GDP growth. These variables capture a broad range of spending activity and are available on a very timely basis, making them suitable current indicators. While every transaction made with these payment mechanisms is in principle observable, the data are aggregated for macroeconomic forecasting. Controlling for the release dates of each of a set of indicators, we generated nowcasts of GDP growth for a given quarter over a span of five months, which is the period over which interest in nowcasts would exist. We find that nowcast errors fall by about 65 per cent between the first and final nowcast. Evidence on the value of the additional payments variables suggests that there may be modest reductions in forecast loss, tending to appear in nowcasts produced at the beginning of a quarter. Among the payments variables considered, debit card transactions appear to produce the greatest improvements in forecast accuracy.
Subjects: 
electronic payments
GDP
nowcasting
vintage data
JEL: 
E32
E37
C53
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
ISBN: 
978-92-899-1906-7
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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