This paper analyzes which factors are driving the ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment. Using the results of a poll among survey participants as well as Granger causality tests we identify three groups of influence factors: other sentiment indicators, financial variables and real economy data. In a second step these factors are used to estimate out-of-sample forecasts for the ZEW Indicator. We find that a simple model that includes German manufacturing order data, the German yield structure and the US Consumer Confidence indicator as explanatory variables is able to outperform a naive univariate benchmark model as well as the consensus forecast for the ZEW Indicator as published by news agencies.

Lahl, David and Felix Hüfner (2003), What Determines the ZEW Indicator?, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 03-48, Mannheim. Download


Lahl, David
Hüfner, Felix


leading indicators, Germany, zew, forecasting