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Philipp Maier

8 March 2006
In a number of countries, especially emerging market economies, the public sector has in recent years been accumulating sizeable cross-border financial assets, mainly in the form of official foreign exchange reserves. World reserves have risen from USD 1.2 trillion in January 1995 to above USD 4 trillion in September 2005, growing particularly rapidly since 2002. This paper investigates the features, drivers, risks and costs of such recent reserve accumulation, as well as the other uses that certain countries have been making of their accumulated foreign assets. The main trends in central bank reserve management are also reviewed. Finally, the paper provides some evidence for the impact of reserve accumulation on yields and asset prices.
JEL Code
E : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
12 September 2011
We evaluate forecasts for the euro area in data-rich and ‘data-lean’ environments by comparing three different approaches: a simple PMI model based on Purchasing Managers’ Indices (PMIs), a dynamic factor model with euro area data, and a dynamic factor model with data from the euro plus data from national economies (pseudo-real time data). We estimate backcasts, nowcasts and forecasts for GDP, components of GDP, and GDP of all individual euro area members, and examine forecasts for periods of low and high economic volatility (more specifically, we consider 2002-2007, which falls into the ‘Great Moderation’, and the ‘Great Recession’ 2008-2009). We find that all models consistently beat naive AR benchmarks, and overall, the dynamic factor model tends to outperform the PMI model (at times by a wide margin). However, accuracy of the dynamic factor model can be uneven (forecasts for some countries have large errors), with the PMI model dominating clearly for some countries or over some horizons. This is particularly pronounced over the Great Recession, where the dynamic factor model dominates the PMI model for backcasts, but has considerable difficulties beating the PMI model for nowcasts. This suggests that survey-based measures can have considerable advantages in responding to changes during very volatile periods, whereas factor models tend to be more sluggish to adjust.
JEL Code
C50 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→General
C53 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Forecasting and Prediction Methods, Simulation Methods
E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
E47 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications