The Role of Commodity Prices in Forecasting U.S. Core Inflation

Nikolay Gospodinov

Working Paper 2016-5
February 2016

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This note documents a curious finding about the substantial forecast ability of a simple aggregator of three commodity futures prices for U.S. core inflation. The proposed aggregator reduces the out-of-sample root mean squared error for 12-month-ahead inflation forecasts of the benchmark AR(1) model by 28 percent (20 percent) for the PCE (CPI) measure of core inflation. To avoid obfuscation of the sources of forecast ability, the model is intentionally kept simple, although extensions for improving and increasing the robustness of the forecast procedure are also discussed.

JEL classification: C53, E37, G12

Key words: core inflation, commodity futures, convenience yields, forecasting


The views expressed here are the author's and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or the Federal Reserve System. Any remaining errors are the author's responsibility.
Please address questions regarding content to Nikolay Gospodinov, Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 1000 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309-4470, 404-498-7892, nikolay.gospodinov@atl.frb.org.
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