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Forecasting the yield curve of government bonds: a dynamic factor approach

Walid Ben Omrane (Goodman School of Business, Brock University, St Catharines, Canada)
Chao He (John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Zhongzhi Lawrence He (Goodman School of Business, Brock University, St Catharines, Canada)
Samir Trabelsi (Goodman School of Business, Brock University, St Catharines, Canada)

Managerial Finance

ISSN: 0307-4358

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




Forecasting the future movement of yield curves contains valuable information for both academic and practical issues such as bonding pricing, portfolio management, and government policies. The purpose of this paper is to develop a dynamic factor approach that can provide more precise and consistent forecasting results under various yield curve dynamics.


The paper develops a unified dynamic factor model based on Diebold and Li (2006) and Nelson and Siegel (1987) three-factor model to forecast the future movement yield curves. The authors apply the state-space model and the Kalman filter to estimate parameters and extract factors from the US yield curve data.


The authors compare both in-sample and out-of-sample performance of the dynamic approach with various existing models in the literature, and find that the dynamic factor model produces the best in-sample fit, and it dominates existing models in medium- and long-horizon yield curve forecasting performance.

Research limitations/implications

The authors find that the dynamic factor model and the Kalman filter technique should be used with caution when forecasting short maturity yields on a short time horizon, in which the Kalman filter is prone to trade off out-of-sample robustness to maintain its in-sample efficiency.

Practical implications

Bond analysts and portfolio managers can use the dynamic approach to do a more accurate forecast of yield curve movements.

Social implications

The enhanced forecasting approach also equips the government with a valuable tool in setting macroeconomic policies.


The dynamic factor approach is original in capturing the level, slope, and curvature of yield curves in that the decay rate is set as a free parameter to be estimated from yield curve data, instead of setting it to be a fixed rate as in the existing literature. The difference range of estimated decay rate provides richer yield curve dynamics and is the key to stronger forecasting performance.



The authors would like to thank Maher Kooli for providing the authors with monthly bond bid and ask quoted prices.


Ben Omrane, W., He, C., He, Z.L. and Trabelsi, S. (2017), "Forecasting the yield curve of government bonds: a dynamic factor approach", Managerial Finance, Vol. 43 No. 7, pp. 774-793.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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