CEIC China GDP Nowcast

A proprietary dataset designed by CEIC Insights, aimed to anticipate China's GDP growth on a real-time basis.


GDP Nowcast | China

Explore our weekly updates and analysis, covering China's GDP growth with the support of data, charts and statistics on high-frequency indicators.


CEIC users will be able to access all data series. If you would like to access the full CEIC China Premium Database, including our extended data related to the GDP Nowcast series, you can request a demonstration below.


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Everything you need to know about CEIC GDP Nowcast

This section provides an overview of our GDP Nowcast, presenting frequently asked questions to help you identify the impact and effectiveness of this tool. 

What is GDP Nowcast?

A combination of the words now and forecast, a GDP Nowcast shows the current state of the economy without having to wait for the official quarterly GDP. We nowcast economic growth by using a set of selected high-frequency indicators that reflect all aspects of the economy, including manufacturing, consumption, services, financial sector, prices, external trade, and others.

Why are we nowcasting?

GDP data is released with significant lags and is not representative of the current state of the economy, while individual high-frequency indicators provide only fragmentary signals for the economic status quo. In contrast, our GDP Nowcast methodology is a combination of both – a comprehensive picture of the whole economy that is updated in real time, which makes it a preferred tool for decision making and timely analysis.

What is the methodology?

The GDP Nowcast methodology is based on a set of selected high-frequency indicators, employed in a dynamic factor model. Dynamic factor models outperform standard univariate models such as random-walk or autoregressive models in estimating GDP. By using this approach, we update our GDP Nowcast, the estimate of GDP growth in the current and the next quarter, every time when new data for any of the high-frequency indicators is available. The model uses a dynamic factor of 1.

How are the high-frequency indicators selected?

For China, a total of 23 indicators have been selected, spanning the whole range of the economy such as external trade, domestic demand, industry, financial sector, prices, and property market. All these indicators have had a strong correlation with the GDP growth historically. Most of them are published monthly, except rainfall, which is a daily indicator aggregated to a monthly frequency to fit the model and be consistent with the other indicators. Since timeliness is an important aspect of the real-time monitoring of the economy, the maximum data release lag for each indicator is 30 days.

How do we define current and next quarters? 

Current quarter means the quarter for which the GDP data is expected to be released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the official source of China GDP data, while next quarter refers to the following quarter. NBS usually releases the quarterly GDP data around two weeks after the end of the reference period.

Are all components of the GDP Nowcast methodology equally weighted?

Yes, all components used to calculate China GDP Nowcast have equal weights as it has been proven empirically that defining different weights or factors does not improve the model predictive power.

How does new data releases affect the GDP Nowcast?

The GDP Nowcast for the current and the next quarters are revised every time when a new data for any of the underlying indicators is released. The new data improves the GDP Nowcast accuracy as it increases the volume of information used by the model to estimate the current and the next quarter GDP. The variance of the estimate also declines with the new data releases.

How can an indicator that is growing in annual terms have a negative impact on GDP?

While the movement of individual indicators is suggestive of the direction of the economy, our model interprets the values of these indicators differently, since they are treated as part of the set. Hence, the values could decline, like in the case of air passenger traffic post April 2020, and yet the impact on the GDP be positive, and vice versa.

All of the data that makes up our China GDP Nowcast dataset is comprised of series within the CEIC China Premium Database. You can learn more and request a demonstration with one of our representatives through the link below.
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CEIC China Quarterly Snapshot Reports 

Our China Economy in a Snapshot reports provide a comprehensive, albeit concise overview of the economic and financial developments from quarter to quarter in the country. 

ISI Emerging Markets Group - China Archive Webinar  Recordings

January 27, 2022 | GDP Nowcasting: Measuring the Chinese Economy in Real Time


We developed China GDP Nowcast - a proprietary dataset designed by CEIC Insights, aimed to anticipate the GDP growth on a real-time basis. This webinar recording provides a concise overview of the dataset.


Access the recording here

June 10, 2021 | China's 5G Application: Progress in Key Industries


Exploring the process of adopting 5G on a large scale in these industries, this webinar highlights the trends of China's 5G development and forecast the future investment focus. 



Access the recording here

April 8, 2021 | The Outstanding Case of China’s Real Estate Sector


The webinar places a special focus on China’s real estate sector, offering a unique insider perspective on the opportunities it holds for both local and foreign investors and the socioeconomic factors that shape it.


Access the recording here