Equilibrium Sovereign Default with Exchange Rate Depreciation
This study proposes and quantitatively assesses a terms-of-trade penalty for defaulting: defaulters must exchange more of their own goods for imports, which causes an adjustment to the equilibrium exchange rate. This penalty can take the place of an ad hoc fall in output: Facing only this penalty and temporary exclusion from debt markets, countries are willing to maintain borrowing obligations up to a realistic level of debt. The terms-of-trade penalty is consistent with the observed relationship between sovereign default and a country's trade flows and prices. The defaulter's currency ...
Forecasting Foreign Economic Growth Using Cross-Country Data
We construct a monthly measure of foreign economic growth based on a wide range of cross-county indicators. Unlike GDP data, which are normally released with a delay of one to two quarters in most countries, our monthly measure incorporates monthly information up to the current month. As new information arrives, this measure of foreign growth can be updated as frequently as daily. This monthly measure of foreign growth not only helps gauge the economic conditions in other countries but also provides a timely measure of foreign demand to help forecast U.S. export growth.
Is China Fudging Its GDP Figures? Evidence from Trading Partner Data
We propose using imports, measured as reported exports of trading partners, as an alternative benchmark to gauge the accuracy of alternative Chinese indicators (including GDP) of fluctuations in economic activity. Externally-reported imports are likely to be relatively well measured, as well as free from domestic manipulation. Using principal components, we derive activity indices from a wide range of indicators and examine their fit to (trading-partner reported) imports. We choose a preferred index of eight non-GDP indicators (which we call the China Cyclical Activity Tracker, or C-CAT). ...
Cyclically Adjusted Current Account Balances
The Great Financial Crisis coincided with a sizable reduction in global external imbalances, defined as the absolute value of the sum of individual country current account surpluses and deficits relative to global GDP. Although current account balances should not respond to a downturn that is uniform across countries, one that hits countries with current account deficits harder than those with surpluses might result in a decline in the global balance. This paper quantifies the cyclical portion of the current account balance for 35 countries using estimates of the severity of the cycle in each ...
Is China fudging its figures? Evidence from trading partner data
How reliable are China?s GDP and other data? We address this question by using trading-partner exports to China as an independent measure of its economic activity from 2000-2014. We find that the information content of Chinese GDP improves markedly after 2008. We also consider a number of plausible, non-GDP indicators of economic activity that have been identified as alternative Chinese output measures. We find that activity factors based on the first principal component of sets of indicators are substantially more informative than GDP alone. The index that best matches activity in-sample ...
A Coherent Framework for Predicting Emerging Market Credit Spreads with Support Vector Regression
We propose a coherent framework using support vector regression (SRV) for generating and ranking a set of high quality models for predicting emerging market sovereign credit spreads. Our framework adapts a global optimization algorithm employing an hv-block cross-validation metric, pertinent for models with serially correlated economic variables, to produce robust sets of tuning parameters for SRV kernel functions. In contrast to previous approaches identifying a single "best" tuning parameter setting, a task that is pragmatically improbable to achieve in many applications, we proceed with a ...
A Global Trade Model for the Euro Area
We propose a model for analyzing euro area trade based on the interaction between macroeconomic and trade variables. First, we show that macroeconomic variables are necessary to generate accurate short-term trade forecasts; this result can be explained by the high correlation between trade and macroeconomic variables, with the latter being released in a more timely manner. Second, the model tracks well the dynamics of trade variables conditional on the path of macroeconomic variables during the great recession; this result makes our model a reliable tool for scenario analysis. Third, we ...
The Accuracy of Forecasts Prepared for the Federal Open Market Committee
We analyze forecasts of consumption, nonresidential investment, residential investment, government spending, exports, imports, inventories, gross domestic product, inflation, and unemployment prepared by the staff of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee from 1997 to 2008, called the Greenbooks. We compare the root mean squared error, mean absolute error, and the proportion of directional errors of Greenbook forecasts of these macroeconomic indicators to the errors from three forecasting benchmarks: a random walk, a first-order ...
Gains from Trade: Does Sectoral Heterogeneity Matter?
This paper assesses the quantitative importance of including sectoral heterogeneity in computing the gains from trade. Our framework draws from Caliendo and Parro (2015) and Alvarez and Lucas (2007) and has sectoral heterogeneity along five dimensions, including the elasticity of trade to trade costs, the value-added share, and the input-output structure. The key parameter we estimate is the sectoral trade elasticity, and we use the Simonovska and Waugh (2014) simulated method of moments estimator with micro price data. Our estimates range from 2.97 to 8.94, considerably lower than those ...
Quantitative Trade Models: Developments and Challenges
Applied general equilibrium (AGE) models, which feature multiple countries or regions, multiple sectors, and input-output linkages across sectors in a Walrasian general equilibrium framework, have been the dominant tool for evaluating the impact of trade liberalization since the 1980s. We provide an overview of the historical development of AGE models and a guide as to how they are used to perform policy analysis. We then review and document shortcomings in the performance of AGE models in predicting the sectoral effects of past trade reforms, that is, we show that AGE models often perform ...