DP5302 | Short-Run Italian GDP Forecasting and Real-Time Data

Publication Date

23/10/2005

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Abstract

National accounts statistics undergo a process of revisions over time because of the accumulation of information and, less frequently, of deeper changes, as new definitions, new methodologies etc. are implemented. In this paper we try to characterise the revision process of the data of Italian GDP as published by the national statistical office (ISTAT) in the stream of the noise models literature. The analysis shows that this task can be better accomplished by concentrating on the growth rates of the data instead of the levels. Another issue tackled in the paper concerns the informative content of the preliminary releases vis a vis an intermediate vintage supposed to embody all statistical information (or no longer revisable as far as purely statistical changes are concerned) and the latest vintage of the data, supposed to be the definitive one. The analysis of the news models in differences is based on the comparison of the forecasting performance of the preliminary releases with that of a number of one step ahead forecasts computed from alternative models, ranging from very simple univariate to multivariate specifications based on indicators (bridge models). Results show that, for the intermediate vintage, the preliminary version is the better forecast, while the latest vintage, which embodies statistical as well as definitional revisions, may be better characterised by considering both the preliminary version and the bridge models forecasts.