ISLAMABAD: Dr Murtaza Syed, deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan inaugurated the seminar on “Economic Modelling and Forecasting – Practices in Central Banks”, on Tuesday which was held virtually under the SAARCFINANCE forum – the regional network of SAARC central banks and finance ministries.

Besides Pakistan, officials from the central banks of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka attended the webinar.

The speakers presented their insightful research on different areas of macroeconomic modelling and forecasting. Professor Vasco J Gabriel, Reader in Economics, University of Surrey, shared a framework to implement money growth rules in a medium-sized emerging open economy. He showed that applying this model to actual data yields insightful results.

Dr Wasim Shahid Malik, SBP Chair, University of Peshawar, drew the attention of researchers and policymakers towards the long-term gains associated with disinflationary policies.

Azhar Iqbal from Wells Fargo Securities, USA, shared interesting and innovative developments in modelling and forecasting of macroeconomic variables, including in the context of heightened uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.  His proposals to construct an Animal Spirits Index as well as studying the asymmetric effects of COVID-19 on growth and inflation in SAARC economies is likely to be extremely relevant for policymaking.

Officials from SAARC central banks shared the evolution and current state of economic modelling at their respective institutions.  The seminar provided researchers from SAARC countries a valuable and unique opportunity for knowledge sharing and learning from each other’s experiences. 

Earlier, in his opening remarks, Dr Syed highlighted the importance of macroeconomic modelling for the efficient application of policy instruments in the face of uncertainties and lags in transmission. He stressed the need to continuously update the technology by incorporating the latest modelling techniques and emerging challenges, like the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. 

In his concluding remarks, Dr Farooq Arby, Director Research, State Bank of Pakistan, summed up the discussion and appreciated the guest lecturers and presenters from the SAARC central banks. He expressed the hope that this seminar would contribute towards capacity building and enriching the frameworks used by SAARC central banks.


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