Which indicators matter? Analyzing the Swiss business cycle using a large-scale mixed-frequency dynamic factor model

Dr. Alain Galli



JEL classification
C32, C38, C53, C55, E32

Business cycle index, dynamic factor model, mixed frequency, Switzerland


For policy institutions such as central banks, it is important to have a timely and ac-curate measure of past and current economic activity and the business cycle situation. The most prominent example for such a measure is gross domestic product (GDP). However, GDP is only released at a quarterly frequency and with a substantial delay. Furthermore, it captures elements that are not directly linked to the business cycle and the underlying momentum of the economy. In this paper, I construct a new business cycle index for the Swiss economy, which uses state-of-the-art methods, is available at a monthly frequency and can be calculated in real-time, even when some indicators are not yet available for the most recent periods. The index is based on a large and broad set of monthly and quarterly indicators. As I show, for the case of Switzerland, it is important to base a business-cycle index on a broad set of indicators instead of only a small subset. This result contrasts with the results for other countries.