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Balance Sheets of Financial Intermediaries: Do They Forecast Economic Activity?

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This paper conducts a real-time, out-of-sample analysis of the forecasting power of various aggregate financial intermediaries’ balance sheets to a wide range of economic activity measures in the United States. I find evidence that the balance sheets of leveraged financial institutions do have out-of-sample predictive power for future economic activity, and this predictability arises mainly through the housing sector. Nevertheless, I show that these variables have very little predictive power during periods of economic expansions and that predictability arises mainly during the financial crisis period.

JEL Code(s): C, C5, C53