Forecasting Trade

This paper develops a set of time series models to provide short-term forecasts (6 to 18 months ahead) of international trade both at the global level and for selected regions. Our results compare favourably to other forecasts, notably by the International Monetary Fund, as measured by standard evaluation measures, such as the root mean square forecast error. In comparison to other models, our approach offers several methodological advantages, inter alia, a focus on import growth as the core variable, the avoidance of certain difficulties affecting the performance of structural models, the selection of variables and lags on the basis of theoretical considerations and empirical testing as well as a full documentation of the modelling process.

No: ERSD-2006-05


Alexander Keck WTO
Alexander Raubold University of Munich


Manuscript date: April 2006

Key Words

Forecasting, time series, international trade, WTO

JEL classification numbers

F17, C53, C32, C22


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This is a working paper, and hence it represents research in progress. This paper represents the opinions of the authors, and is the product of professional research. It is not meant to represent the position or opinions of the WTO or its Members, nor the official position of any staff members. Any errors are the fault of the authors. Copies of working papers can be requested from the divisional secretariat by writing to: Economic Research and Statistics Division, World Trade Organization, Rue de Lausanne 154, CH 1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland. Please request papers by number and title.

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