Back to the Future: Finding Historical Economic Forecasts


Business and economic forecasts that are past their shelf life, such as GDP forecasts for the year 2010 made in the year 2008,  might seem to be of little value.  But business researchers examine old forecasts to test their accuracy or to better understand the economic climate of a period. It is well known that forecasters almost universally missed predicting the “Great Recession” business decline of 2008/2009. For example,  The Economist’s  Poll of Forecasters for Jan 12, 2008 (pg. 89) predicted that U.S. GDP would increase 1.8% in 2008 and 2.6% in 2009.  GDP actually fell slightly in 2008 and was down 2.8% in 2009.

Here are some sources of historical forecasts that will let you exercise 20/20 hindsight.

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Do You Have This Report? Finding Market and Industry Reports

Doing research on an industry? The Library has several databases that can help. Most Library resources can be accessed by typing the database name into the Findit box at the top of the Library homepage.


Net Advantage – Standard & Poors has been providing industry surveys since 1941. Older, print editions are available at Lippincott Library – Peck Collection (call number HG4921 .S672).  Recent years are available electronically. Once you are logged into the database, click on the Industries Tab. While coverage is mostly limited to the U.S. there are some international reports as well. The reports include industry profiles, trends, how the industry operates, key ratios, and how to analyze a company in this industry. Comparative company analysis is also available for industry leaders.


Moody’s Analytics examines industries from the standpoint of the bond markets. Not only does Moody’s provide very detailed reports on their methodologies for rating bonds in a particular industry, it also provides industry outlooks explaining what industry trends will affect the bond markets. Coverage is international in scope. Both types of reports provide deep insight into what is needed for an industry to thrive and what companies in that industry have the strongest potential for investment.Combined_2

Navigate using the Ratings and Research Tab. Next in the middle column, select Research Type and then choose Industry/Sector Research or Methodologies.

Use the filters on the left of the screen to limit to Corporates (under Market Segment) and then select an industry from the Market Segment filter. These are listed in alphabetical order. Continue reading

BRIC Works: Resources for Emerging Markets

The acronym BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) was coined in 2001 as a concise reference to the largest emerging markets. Since then, there has been a proliferation of Emerging Market acronyms. An “S” is sometimes added to BRIC to include South Africa. You can also find references to:

  • MINTS (Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Thailand and Singapore)
  • CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa)
  • MIST (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey)
  • TIMP (Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico and the Philippines)

Although the rapid expansion of emerging market economies has slowed recently (see for example, The BRICs have Hit a Wall) there is still strong interest in uncovering emerging market economic, financial and marketing data. Here are four important data sources.

Emerging Market Country ListISI Emerging Markets

Published by Euromoney Institutional Investor, ISI Emerging Markets gives full-text news (in English and in the original language), company and industry information, as well as general financial and economic data for 100 emerging market countries. The only notable gap in country coverage is Israel.

Business Monitor International

Although BMI reports on countries worldwide, the BRIC Business monitor menudata it provides on emerging markets is especially useful.  Their coverage includes political risk, finance, economic indicators, macroeconomic performance, outlook and forecast, and the business operating environment. The breadth of coverage is indicated by their industry menu (shown at the right).

The depth of the reporting is revealed by the cover of this 140-page quarterly report on the Brazilian Oil and Gas Industry.

BRIC Business Monitor Cover


The CEIC suite of databases provide time series data on 100 plus countries. Its Global and Sector databases cover more than 400,000 data items on topics including national accounts, government and public finance, demographic and labor markets, inflation, foreign trade, forex, financial markets, as well as data on a variety of industry sectors. Data are from national statistical sources. In addition, CEIC has a set of “premium” databases for Brazil, India, Russia, China and Indonesia that include greater detail.

Here are a few examples of the data granularity available from the premium CEIC files:

  • Indian 15-year annual time series on electricity consumption by fuel type by industry and region.
  • Chinese monthly real estate data at the city level for investment, building sales, and floor space.
  • Average Russian gasoline price for high/low octane by month (shown below).

CEIC Graph (1)


Bloomberg, of course, is a comprehensive source of detailed financial data for all developed and developing markets. If you want a one page snap shot of the BRIC countries economic and financial markets, type:


Bloomberg BRIC

For a larger view of emerging market countries, type:


EMMV bloomberg

Click on the Area Name in blue for an expanded list of countries.

For more sources on Emerging Markets, see our Business FAQ and our guides to specific areas and countries.

Evaluating Country Risk: Global Economic Growth and Forecasts

International investing often begins with evaluating the country risk. This process involves looking at the risks associated with the economic, political, and business environments in a specific country. Analyzing these risks can help mitigate unexpected investment losses. Investors doing this are looking for information like:

  • The economic growth for the last ten years.
  • Forecast of economic growth for the next five to ten years.
  • Country debt rating changes for the last 10 years.

There are a number of databases that provide data for this type of research.

BMI Research provides forecasts of economic growth and inflation, as well as historical data. Start by selecting a country of interest. The quarterly Country Forecast Report covers political risk, macroeconomic performance (outlook and forecast), the business operating environment, and more. Within the database, you can also download historical data (GDP, exchange rates, balance of payments, inflation, debt, etc.) by choosing Compare & Export Data under Data & Forecasts on the right-hand side of the screen.

CEIC and Global Financial Data both cover a wide range of international economic indicators. CEIC provides data for Brazil, China, India, Russia, and other countries on a macroeconomic scale. The data comes from the national statistical sources. To find country specific data in Global Financial Data, select GFDatabase, then select the country of interest from the country list to view the datasets available.

BMI Political Risk Rating

You can find macroeconomic reports and forecasts in EMIS for emerging market economies. This database aggregates reports from a variety of sources like Oxford Analytica. To get to the macroeconomic reports, click on the Macroeconomics tab and select Analysis/Research: Economic. Continue reading

So Call Me, Maybe? Smartphone Market Penetration in the U.S. and Globally

According to Pew Internet, as of February 2012 almost half (46%) of American adults own a smartphone. Smartphone use is increasing (the average user spends 39 minutes a day on their smartphone) and so are users. The firm eMarketer estimates that there will be 192.4 million smartphone users in the U.S. by 2016.

Smartphones are also popular overseas. Bloomberg Businessweek says that smartphone users globally have reached the 1 billion mark. The number represents the growing smartphone market, but smartphone market penetration (product sales as a percent of total potential market) is still low in many regions.

In this post we highlight a number of resources that are useful for finding out more about the U.S. and global smartphone market. The resources below cover smartphone market penetration, but can be used also to research a broad range of topics within digital technology. Continue reading