The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Friday, December 9, 2011

A beautiful little gem from Glenn Stevens on "nowcasting"

Say what you will about RBA policy, Glenn seems like a true gentleman:

"One Hogan paper of that era that really struck a chord with me then – I have always recalled its title – was about the issue of revisions to economic statistics. It was entitled ‘How Do We Know Where We Are Going, When We Don’t Know Where We Have Been, Let Alone Where We Are?’.[6] These days the study of revisions to data is an art in itself (though the quality of national accounts data is better than it was in the 1970s). Central banks put huge effort into what has come to be called ‘nowcasting’ – that is, working out what the national accounts probably will, or should, say about the current quarter in three or four months' time when they are released. Some central banks actually ‘backcast’ the recent past, deciding their own version of GDP, not necessarily the same as the one published by the statisticians, in effect foreshadowing revisions to come.[7] The RBA has not gone to that extent, though of course we have seen certain difficulties in assessing the current pace of underlying inflation in our own country over recent months, with reasonably significant revisions to some – as far back as 1978."

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