Data of Sectoral Financial Flows as a High-Frequency Indicator of Economic Activity


In times of crisis, events are moving fast and standard macroeconomic statistics published with a lag cannot quite keep pace with the changing situation. During such periods, there is an increasing need to use high-frequency indicators that allow virtually real-time monitoring of economic activity. In many countries, this is achieved by using financial transaction data. In this paper, we present a methodology for the current analysis of sectoral financial flows in the Russian economy based on data from the Bank of Russia payment system. We use the information on the dynamics of average daily payments for each class of OKVED 2 (the Russian National Classifier of Economic Activities) to develop high-frequency indicators of economic activity, which have been published on the Bank of Russia website since April 2020. We also tentatively discuss the potential of financial transaction data in terms of improving the tools for short-term forecasting of business activity dynamics and solutions to other research problems.