Friday, March 23, 2018

Which criteria should a measure of global activity satisfy

LUTZ KILIAN, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
Email: lkilian@umich.edu
XIAOQING ZHOU,
Bank of Canada
Email: xzhou@bankofcanada.ca
It is widely understood that the real price of globally traded commodities is determined by the forces of demand and supply. One of the main determinants of the real price of commodities is shifts in the demand for commodities associated with unexpected fluctuations in global real economic activity. There have been numerous proposals for quantifying global real economic activity. We discuss which criteria a measure of global real activity must satisfy to be useful for modeling industrial commodity prices, we examine which of the many alternative measures in the literature are most suitable for applied work, and we explain why some popular measures are inappropriate for modeling commodity prices. Given these insights, we reexamine in detail the question of whether global real economic activity has declined since 2011 and by how much. Drawing on a range of new evidence, we show that the global commodity price boom of the 2000s appears to have been largely transitory. Our analysis has important implications for the design of structural models of commodity markets, for the analysis of the transmission of commodity price shocks to commodity-importing and exporting economies, and for commodity price forecasting. 

Global firms


STEFAN AVDJIEV, Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
Email: stefan.avdjiev@bis.org
MARY EVERETT,
Central Bank of Ireland
Email: mary.everett@centralbank.ie
PHILIP R. LANE,
Trinity College (Dublin) - Department of Economics, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), Central Bank of Ireland
Email: plane@tcd.ie
HYUN SONG SHIN,
Bank for International Settlements
Email: hyunsong.shin@bis.org
As the global economy becomes more integrated, there is a growing tension between the nature of economic activity and the measurement system that attempts to keep up with it. Many policies are still determined by measuring economic activity at the national level. Since the typical unit of analysis is the economic area (the “island”), economic activity is measured within the island and in terms of transactions between islands. But, increasingly, companies and their ownership are global, with economic activity taking place in a geographically dispersed way. We analyse several important issues created by this tension, show how they manifest themselves in the data and draw lessons from them.