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Forecasting the end of the global recession: did we miss the early signs?

By Adriana Z. Fernandez and Alex Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy

Abstract

This paper looks at the term-structure literature to identify early signs predicting recessionary patterns in the U.S. and other developed economies. Based on the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) recession dates, we define the probability of recession as a function of the traditional yield spread, plus a forward-looking measure of growth expectations, namely the output gap growth spread. For other countries, we extend the model and make it additionally dependent on the probability of recession in the U.S. Our results indicate that most of the a-posteriori official recession dates could have been forecast as early as April 2009, when the first green shoots of recovery appeared in the U.S. data. Overall, the term-structure versions we apply allow us to signal recessions earlier and more accurately than traditional term-structure models and most professional forecasters.Forecasting ; Macroeconomics - Econometric models ; International finance

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