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July 20, 2018 | Nowcast vs. GDPNow: Questioning the Absurdity of Nowcast’s Non-Volatility

Mike 'Mish' Shedlock

Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.
Nowcast had no reaction to 35 of 35 economic data points since June 19. GDPNow rose 0.7 PP since July 6.

Given the surprisingly strong retail sales report on July 16, I expected at least some positive action in the Nowcast forecast. Nope. GDPNow, did react.

GDPNow Reaction History

Nowcast Reaction History

​The largest move on any economic report since July 6 is -0.07 percentage points.


  • The Nowcast model accurately predicted 24 of 24 economic report since July 6.
  • The GDPNow model failed to predict numerous economic reports over the same timeframe.

How likely is the first item?

I looked back further. The last time Nowcast moved a “full” 0.1 percentage point on any forecast was a -0.12 percentage points on the June 19 housing permits report.

The running score for the Nowcast model to predict the economic report’s impact on that model is a whopping 35 consecutive economic data points that it tracks. Wow!

Let me ask again: How likely is that?

I have commented on the non-volatility of Nowcast on numerous occasions but this has now reached the point of absurdity.

Margins of Error

The margins of error of both GDPNow and Nowcast is one full percentage point.

These are not the final forecasts, but if they were, the next GDP number would need to be in the range of 3.5% to 3.7% for both models be within their stated confidence levels.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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July 20th, 2018

Posted In: Mish Talk

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