# TIME-SERIES ANALYSIS, MODELLING AND FORECASTING USING SAS SOFTWARE

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1 TIME-SERIES ANALYSIS, MODELLING AND FORECASTING USING SAS SOFTWARE Ramasubramanian V. IA.S.R.I., Library Avenue, Pusa, New Delhi Introduction Time series (TS) data refers to observations on a variable that occurs in a time sequence. Mostly these observations are collected at equally spaced, discrete time intervals. The TS movements of such chronological data can be resolved or decomposed into discernible components as trend, periodic (say, seasonal), cyclical and irregular variations. A basic assumption in any TS analysis/modeling is that some aspects of the past pattern will continue to remain in the future. Here it is tacitly assumed that information about the past is available in the form of numerical data. Ideally, at least 50 observations are necessary for performing TS analysis/ modeling, as propounded by Box and Jenkins who were pioneers in TS modeling. Decomposition models are among the oldest approaches to TS analysis albeit a number of theoretical weaknesses from a statistical point of view. These were followed by the crudest form of forecasting methods called the moving averages method. As an improvement over this method which had equal weights, exponential smoothing methods came into being which gave more weights to recent data. Exponential smoothing methods have been proposed initially as just recursive methods without any distributional assumptions about the error structure in them, and later, they were found to be particular cases of the statistically sound AutoRegressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) models. A detailed discussion regarding various TS components has been done by Croxton et al. (1979). A good account on exponential smoothing methods is given in Makridakis et al. (1998). A practical treatment on ARIMA modeling along with several case studies can be found in Pankratz (1983). A reference book on ARIMA and related topics with a more rigorous theoretical flavour is by Box et al. (1994). 2. Time Series Components An important step in analysing TS data is to consider the types of data patterns, so that the models most appropriate to those patterns can be utilized. Four types of TS components can be distinguished. They are (i) Horizontal when data values fluctuate around a constant value (ii) Trend when there is long term increase or decrease in the data (iii)seasonal when a series is influenced by seasonal factor and recurs on a regular periodic basis (iv) Cyclical when the data exhibit rises and falls that are not of a fixed period Note that many data series include combinations of the preceding patterns. After separating out the existing patterns in any TS data, the pattern that remains unidentifiable form the random or error component. Time plot (data plotted over time) and seasonal plot (data plotted against individual seasons in which the data were observed) help in visualizing these patterns while exploring the data. 93

2 Many techniques such as time plots, auto-correlation functions, box plots and scatter plots abound for suggesting relationships with possibly influential factors. For long and erratic series, time plots may not be helpful. Alternatives could be to go for smoothing or averaging methods like moving averages, exponential smoothing methods etc. In fact, if the data contains considerable error, then the first step in the process of trend identification is smoothing. 3. Classical time series decomposition methods Decomposition methods are among the oldest approaches to TS analysis. A crude yet practical way of decomposing the original data (including the cyclical pattern in the trend itself) is to go for a seasonal decomposition either by assuming an additive or multiplicative model such as Y t = T t + S t + E t or Y t = T t. S t. E t where Y t - Original TS data T t - Trend component S t Seasonal component E t Error/ Irregular component If the seasonal variations of a TS increases as the level of the series increases then one has to go for a multiplicative model else an additive model. Alternatively, an additive decomposition of the logged values of the TS can also be done. The decomposition methods may enable one to study the TS components separately or will allow workers to de-trend or to do seasonal adjustments if needed for further analysis. 4. Exponential smoothing model fitting using SAS software Depending upon whether the data is horizontal, or has trend or has also seasonality the following methods are employed for forecasting purposes. (i) Simple Exponential smoothing (SES) For non-seasonal time series data in which there is no trend, simple exponential smoothing (SES) method can be employed. Let the observed time series up to time period t upon a variable Y be denoted by y 1, y 2,, y t. Suppose the forecast, say, y t (1), of the next value y t+1 of the series (which is yet to be observed) is to be found out. Given data up to time period t-1, the forecast for the next time t is denoted by y t-1 (1). When the observation y t becomes available, the forecast error is found to be y t y t- 1(1). Thereafter method of simple or single exponential smoothing takes the forecast for the previous period and adjusts it using the forecast error to find the forecast for the next period, i.e. Level: y t (1)= y t -1 (1) + α [y t y t-1 (1)] Forecast: y t (h) = y t (1); h=2,3, where is the smoothing constant (weight) which lies between 0 and 1. Here y t (h) is the forecast for h periods ahead i.e. the forecast of y t+h for some subsequent time period t+h based on all the data up to time period t. (ii) Double exponential smoothing (Holt) The above SES method was then extended to linear exponential smoothing and has been employed to allow for forecasting non-seasonal time series data with trends. The forecast for Holt s linear exponential smoothing is found by having two equations to 94

3 deal with. one for level and one for trend. The forecast is found using two smoothing constants, and (with values between 0 and 1), and three equations: Level: l t = α y t +(1 α)(l t 1 + b t 1 ), Trend: b t = β(l t l t 1 )+(1 β)b t 1, Forecast: y t (h)= l t + b t h. Here l t denotes the level of the series at time t and b t denotes the trend (additive) of the series at time t. The optimal combination of smoothing parameters and should be chosen by minimizing the MSE over observations of the model data set. (iii) Triple exponential smoothing (Winters) If the data have no trend or seasonal patterns, then SES is appropriate. If the data exhibit a linear trend, Holt s method is appropriate. But if the data are seasonal, these methods, on their own, cannot handle the problem well. Holt s method was later extended to capture seasonality directly. The Winters method is based on three smoothing equations one for the level, one for trend, and one for seasonality. It is similar to Holt s method, with one additional equation to deal with seasonality. In fact there are two different Winters methods, depending on whether seasonality is modelled in an additive or multiplicative way. The basic equations for Winters multiplicative method are as follows. y t Level: l t = α +(1 α)(l t 1 + b t 1 ) s t-m Trend: b t = β (l t l t 1 )+(1 β)b t 1 Seasonal: s t = γ y t / (l t 1 + b t 1 )+(1 γ)s t m Forecast: y t (h)=(l t + b t h)s t m+h where m is the length of seasonality (e.g., number of, say, months or seasons in a year), l t represents the level of the series, b t denotes the trend of the series at time t, s t is the seasonal component, and y t (h) is the forecast for h periods ahead. As with all exponential smoothing methods, we need initial values of the components and parameter values. The basic equations for Winters additive method are as follows. Level: l t = α y t s t-m +(1 α)(l t 1 + b t 1 ) Trend: b t = β (l t l t 1 )+(1 β)b t 1 Seasonal: s t = γ (y t - l t 1 - b t 1 ) + (1 γ) s t m Forecast: y t (h)=(l t + b t h) + s t m+h In SAS, exponential smoothing is used when the METHOD=EXPO option is specified. You specify the model with the TREND= option as follows: TREND=1 specifies single exponential smoothing (a constant model) TREND=2 specifies double exponential smoothing (a linear trend model) TREND=3 specifies triple exponential smoothing (a quadratic trend model) Exponential smoothing forecasts are forecasts for an integrated moving-average process; however, the weighting parameter is specified by the user rather than estimated from the data. Experience has shown that good values for the WEIGHT= option are between 0.05 and 0.3. As a general rule, smaller smoothing weights are appropriate for series with a slowly changing trend, while larger weights are appropriate for volatile series with a rapidly changing trend. This produces defaults of 95

4 WEIGHT=0.2 for TREND=1, WEIGHT= for TREND=2, and WEIGHT= for TREND=3. The SAS syntax is as follows: data past; input date:monyy. sales format date monyy.; cards; JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL proc forecast data=past lead=10 out=pred; proc forecast data=past interval=month lead=10 out=pred; 96

5 proc forecast data=past interval=month lead=10 out=pred outlimit; proc forecast data=past interval=month lead=10 out=pred outfull; proc sgplot data=pred; series x=date y=sales / group=_type_ lineattrs=(pattern=1); xaxis values=('1jan90'd to '1jan93'd by qtr); refline '15jul91'd / axis=x; proc forecast data=past interval=month lead=10 out=pred outfull outresid; proc sgplot data=pred; where _type_='residual'; needle x=date y=sales / markers; xaxis values=('1jan89'd to '1oct91'd by qtr); proc forecast data=past interval=month lead=10 out=pred outfull outresid outest=est outfitstats; proc print data=est; proc forecast data=past interval=month lead=10 97

6 method=expo weight=0.1 trend=2 out=pred outfull outresid outest=est outfitstats; 5. ARIMA model fitting using SAS software 5.1 Stationarity of a TS process A TS is said to be stationary if its underlying generating process is based on a constant mean and constant variance with its autocorrelation function (ACF) essentially constant through time. Thus, if we consider different subsets of a realization (TS sample ) the different subsets will typically have means, variances and autocorrelation functions that do not differ significantly. 5.2 Autocorrelation functions (i) Autocorrelation Autocorrelation refers to the way the observations in a TS are related to each other and is measured by the simple correlation between current observation (Y t ) and observation from p periods before the current one (Y t p ). (ii) Partial autocorrelation Partial autocorrelations are used to measure the degree of association between y t and y t-p when the y-effects at other time lags 1,2,3,,p-1 are removed. (iii) Autocorrelation function(acf) and partial autocorrelation function(pacf) Theoretical ACFs and PACFs (Autocorrelations versus lags) are available for the various models chosen (say, see Pankratz, 1983) for various values of orders of autoregressive and moving average components i.e. p and q. Thus compare the correlograms (plot of sample ACFs versus lags) obtained from the given TS data with these theoretical ACF/PACFs, to find a reasonably good match and tentatively select one or more ARIMA models. The general characteristics of theoretical ACFs and PACFs are as follows:- (here spike represents the line at various lags in the plot with length equal to magnitude of autocorrelations) Model ACF PACF AR Spikes decay towards zero Spikes cutoff to zero MA Spikes cutoff to zero Spikes decay to zero ARMA Spikes decay to zero Spikes decay to zero 5.3 Description of ARIMA representation (i) ARIMA modelling In general, an ARIMA model is characterized by the notation ARIMA (p,d,q) where, p, d and q denote orders of auto-regression, integration (differencing) and moving average respectively. In ARIMA parlance, TS is a linear function of past actual values and random shocks. A stationary ARMA (p, q) process is defined by the equation 98

7 y t = 1 y t y t p y t-p - 1 t-1-2 t q t-q + t where t s are independently and normally distributed with zero mean and constant variance 2 for t = 1,2,...n. Note here that the values of p and q, in practice lie between 0 and 3. The degree of differencing of main variable y t will be discussed in section 7 (i)). 5.4 Model building (i) Identification The foremost step in the process of modeling is to check for the stationarity of the series, as the estimation procedures are available only for stationary series. There are two kinds of stationarity, viz., stationarity in mean and stationarity in variance. A cursory look at the graph of the data and structure of autocorrelation and partial correlation coefficients may provide clues for the presence of stationarity. Another way of checking for stationarity is to fit a first order autoregressive model for the raw data and test whether the coefficient 1 is less than one. If the model is found to be non-stationary, stationarity could be achieved mostly by differencing the series. This is applicable for both seasonal and non-seasonal stationarity. Thus, if X t denotes the original series, the non-seasonal difference of first order is Y t = X t X t-1 The next step in the identification process is to find the initial values for the orders of seasonal and non-seasonal parameters, p, q. They could be obtained by looking for significant autocorrelation and partial autocorrelation coefficients. Say, if second order auto correlation coefficient is significant, then an AR (2), or MA (2) or ARMA (2) model could be tried to start with. This is not a hard and fast rule, as sample autocorrelation coefficients are poor estimates of population autocorrelation coefficients. Still they can be used as initial values while the final models are achieved after going through the stages repeatedly. Note that usually up to order 2 for p, d, or q are sufficient for developing a good model in practice. (ii) Estimation At the identification stage one or more models are tentatively chosen that seem to provide statistically adequate representations of the available data. Then we attempt to obtained precise estimates of parameters of the model by least squares as advocated by Box and Jenkins. (iii) Diagnostics Different models can be obtained for various combinations of AR and MA individually and collectively. The best model is obtained with following diagnostics. (a) Low Akaike Information Criteria (AIC AIC is given by AIC = (-2 log L + 2 m) where m=p+ q+ P+ Q and L is the likelihood function. (b) Plot of residual ACF Once the appropriate ARIMA model has been fitted, one can examine the goodness of fit by means of plotting the ACF of residuals of the fitted model. If most of the sample autocorrelation coefficients of the residuals are within the limits ± 1.96 / N 99

8 where N is the number of observations upon which the model is based then the residuals are white noise indicating that the model is a good fit. (c) Non-significance of auto correlations of residuals via Portmonteau tests (Qtests based on Chisquare statistics)-box-pierce or Ljung-Box texts After tentative model has been fitted to the data, it is important to perform diagnostic checks to test the adequacy of the model and, if need be, to suggest potential improvements. One way to accomplish this is through the analysis of residuals. It has been found that it is effective to measure the overall adequacy of the chosen model by examining a quantity Q known as Box-Pierce statistic (a function of autocorrelations of residuals) whose approximate distribution is chi-square and is computed as follows: 2 Q == nn r (j( j) ) where summation extends from 1 to k with k as the maximum lag considered, n is the number of observations in the series, r (j) is the estimated autocorrelation at lag j; k can be any positive integer and is usually around 20. Q follows Chi-square with (km 1 ) degrees of freedom where m 1 is the number of parameters estimated in the model. A modified Q statistic is the Ljung-box statistic which is given by 2 r ( Q == nn( (nn++22) ) r (j)) / (nn j ( j) ) The Q Statistic is compared to critical values from chi-square distribution. If model is correctly specified, residuals should be uncorrelated and Q should be small (the probability value should be large). A significant value indicates that the chosen model does not fit well. All these stages require considerable care and work and they themselves are not exhaustive. The SAS syntax is data lead; input date:monyy. leadprod format date monyy.; cards; Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan

9 Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep

10 Oct Nov Dec ; proc print data=lead(obs=20); proc arima data=lead; identify var=leadprod; proc arima data=lead; i var=leadprod noprint; e p=1; forecast lead=10; References Box, G.E.P., Jenkins, G.M. and Reinsel, G.C. (1994). Time Series Analysis: Forecasting and Control, Pearson Education, Delhi. Croxton, F.E., Cowden, D.J. and Klein, S.(1979). Applied General Statistics. Prentice Hall of India Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. Makridakis, S., Wheelwright, S.C. and Hyndman, R.J. (1998). Forecasting Methods and Applications, 3 rd Edition, John Wiley, New York. Pankratz, A. (1983). Forecasting with univariate Box Jenkins models: concepts and cases, John Wiley, New York. 102

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