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September/October 2009, Part 2, 
Vol. 91, No. 5
Posted 2009-10-21

Do Macroeconomic Announcements Move Inflation Forecasts?

by Marlene Amstad and Andreas M. Fischer

This article presents an empirical strategy that bridges the gap between event studies and macroeconomic forecasts based on common-factor models. Event studies examine the response of financial variables to a market-sensitive “surprise” component using a narrow event window. The authors argue that these features—narrow event window and surprise component—can be easily embedded in common-factor models that study the real-time impact of macroeconomic announcements on key policy variables such as inflation or gross domestic product growth. Demonstrative applications are provided for Swiss inflation that show that (i) the communication of monetary policy announcements generates an asymmetric response for inflation forecasts, (ii) the pass-through effect of import price releases on inflation forecasts is weak, and (iii) macroeconomic releases of real and nominal variables generate nonsynchronized effects for inflation forecasts.