6.2 Moving averages

The timeless approach of time series decomposition originated in the 1920s and was commonly offered until the 1950s. It still forms the basis of many kind of time series decomplace methods, so it is crucial to understand also exactly how it works. The first step in a timeless decomplace is to use a relocating average method to estimate the trend-cycle, so we start by pointing out moving averperiods.

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Moving average smoothing

A moving average of order (m) can be created as<eginequation hatT_t = frac1m sum_j=-k^k y_t+j, ag6.1endequation>where (m=2k+1). That is, the estimate of the trend-cycle at time (t) is obtained by averaging values of the time series within (k) periods of (t). Observations that are surrounding in time are also most likely to be close in value. Because of this, the average eliminates some of the randomness in the data, leaving a smooth trend-cycle component. We contact this an (m)-MA, definition a moving average of order (m).


autoplot(elecsales) + xlab("Year") + ylab("GWh") + ggtitle("Annual electrical power sales: South Australia")

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Figure 6.4: Residential electrical energy sales (excluding warm water) for South Australia: 1989–2008.


For instance, think about Figure 6.4 which mirrors the volume of power sold to residential customers in South Australia yearly from 1989 to 2008 (warm water sales have been excluded). The information are likewise presented in Table 6.1.

Table 6.1: Annual electrical power sales to residential customers in South Australia. 1989–2008.YearSales (GWh)5-MA
19892354.34
19902379.71
19912318.522381.53
19922468.992424.56
19932386.092463.76
19942569.472552.60
19952575.722627.70
19962762.722750.62
19972844.502858.35
19983000.703014.70
19993108.103077.30
20003357.503144.52
20013075.703188.70
20023180.603202.32
20033221.603216.94
20043176.203307.30
20053430.603398.75
20063527.483485.43
20073637.89
20083655.00

In the last column of this table, a relocating average of order 5 is displayed, offering an estimate of the trend-cycle. The first value in this column is the average of the first 5 observations (1989–1993); the second value in the 5-MA column is the average of the values for 1990–1994; and also so on. Each value in the 5-MA column is the average of the observations in the 5 year window centred on the matching year. In the notation of Equation (6.1), column 5-MA includes the values of (hatT_t) via (k=2) and also (m=2k+1=5). This is easily computed using


Tright here are no worths for either the initially 2 years or the last 2 years, because we do not have two observations on either side. Later we will usage more innovative methods of trend-cycle estimation which do enable estimates close to the endpoints.

To check out what the trend-cycle estimate looks favor, we plot it in addition to the original information in Figure 6.5.


autoplot(elecsales, series="Data") + autolayer(ma(elecsales,5), series="5-MA") + xlab("Year") + ylab("GWh") + ggtitle("Annual electricity sales: South Australia") + scale_colour_manual(values=c("Data"="grey50","5-MA"="red"), breaks=c("Data","5-MA"))

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Figure 6.5: Residential power sales (black) in addition to the 5-MA estimate of the trend-cycle (red).


Notice that the trend-cycle (in red) is smoother than the original data and also captures the main movement of the time series without every one of the minor fluctuations. The order of the relocating average determines the smoothness of the trend-cycle estimate. In general, a larger order suggests a smovarious other curve. Figure 6.6 shows the impact of changing the order of the moving average for the residential electricity sales data.


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Figure 6.6: Different moving averages used to the residential electrical power sales information.


Simple moving avereras such as these are normally of an odd order (e.g., 3, 5, 7, and so on.). This is so they are symmetric: in a moving average of order (m=2k+1), the middle monitoring, and (k) monitorings on either side, are averaged. But if (m) was also, it would certainly no longer be symmetric.


Moving avereras of moving averages

It is possible to apply a moving average to a moving average. One factor for doing this is to make an even-order moving average symmetric.

For instance, we can take a moving average of order 4, and also then apply one more relocating average of order 2 to the results. In the complying with table, this has been done for the initially few years of the Australian quarterly beer manufacturing data.


beer2 window(ausbeer,start=1992)ma4 ma(beer2, order=4, centre=FALSE)ma2x4 ma(beer2, order=4, centre=TRUE)
Table 6.2: A moving average of order 4 used to the quarterly beer information, adhered to by a moving average of order 2.YearQuarterObservation4-MA2x4-MA
1992Q1443
1992Q2410451.25
1992Q3420448.75450.00
1992Q4532451.50450.12
1993Q1433449.00450.25
1993Q2421444.00446.50
1993Q3410448.00446.00
1993Q4512438.00443.00
1994Q1449441.25439.62
1994Q2381446.00443.62
1994Q3423440.25443.12
1994Q4531447.00443.62
1995Q1426445.25446.12
1995Q2408442.50443.88
1995Q3416438.25440.38
1995Q4520435.75437.00
1996Q1409431.25433.50
1996Q2398428.00429.62
1996Q3398433.75430.88
1996Q4507433.75433.75
The notation “(2 imes4)-MA” in the last column means a 4-MA adhered to by a 2-MA. The values in the last column are acquired by taking a moving average of order 2 of the worths in the previous column. For instance, the first 2 values in the 4-MA column are451.25=(443+410+420+532)/4and448.75=(410+420+532+433)/4.The first value in the 2x4-MA column is the average of these two:450.00=(451.25+448.75)/2.

When a 2-MA adheres to a moving average of an also order (such as 4), it is dubbed a “centred relocating average of order 4.” This is bereason the results are now symmetric. To check out that this is the situation, we deserve to create the (2 imes4)-MA as follows:<eginalign* hatT_t &= frac12Big< frac14 (y_t-2+y_t-1+y_t+y_t+1) + frac14 (y_t-1+y_t+y_t+1+y_t+2)Big> \ &= frac18y_t-2+frac14y_t-1 + frac14y_t+frac14y_t+1+frac18y_t+2.endalign*>It is currently a weighted average of observations that is symmetric. By default, the ma() feature in R will return a centred relocating average for also orders (unless center=FALSE is specified).

Other combinations of moving averages are additionally feasible. For instance, a (3 imes3)-MA is regularly used, and also is composed of a relocating average of order 3 followed by an additional relocating average of order 3. In general, an even order MA have to be complied with by an even order MA to make it symmetric. Similarly, an odd order MA must be adhered to by an odd order MA.


Estimating the trend-cycle with seasonal data

The many widespread use of centred moving averperiods is for estimating the trend-cycle from seasonal information. Consider the (2 imes4)-MA:< hatT_t = frac18y_t-2 + frac14y_t-1 + frac14y_t + frac14y_t+1 + frac18y_t+2.>When applied to quarterly data, each quarter of the year is given equal weight as the initially and last terms apply to the very same quarter in consecutive years. Consequently, the seasonal variation will be averaged out and also the resulting worths of (hatT_t) will certainly have actually little bit or no seasonal variation staying. A comparable result would certainly be obtained using a (2 imes 8)-MA or a (2 imes 12)-MA to quarterly information.

In basic, a (2 imes m)-MA is indistinguishable to a weighted moving average of order (m+1) wbelow all monitorings take the weight (1/m), except for the first and last terms which take weights (1/(2m)). So, if the seasonal duration is also and also of order (m), we use a (2 imes m)-MA to estimate the trend-cycle. If the seasonal period is odd and also of order (m), we usage a (m)-MA to estimate the trend-cycle. For instance, a (2 imes 12)-MA deserve to be offered to estimate the trend-cycle of monthly information and a 7-MA can be provided to estimate the trend-cycle of daily data via a weekly seasonality.

Other choices for the order of the MA will certainly commonly lead to trend-cycle approximates being contaminated by the seasonality in the information.


autoplot(elecequip, series="Data") + autolayer(ma(elecequip, 12), series="12-MA") + xlab("Year") + ylab("New orders index") + ggtitle("Electrical devices production (Euro area)") + scale_colour_manual(values=c("Data"="grey","12-MA"="red"), breaks=c("Data","12-MA"))

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Figure 6.7: A 2x12-MA applied to the electrical devices orders index.


Figure 6.7 shows a (2 imes12)-MA used to the electrical equipment orders index. Notice that the smooth line shows no seasonality; it is virtually the exact same as the trend-cycle displayed in Figure 6.1, which was approximated using a more innovative method than a moving average. Any other alternative for the order of the moving average (other than for 24, 36, etc.) would certainly have resulted in a smooth line that proved some seasonal fluctuations.


Weighted moving averages

Combinations of moving averperiods cause weighted moving averperiods. For instance, the (2 imes4)-MA questioned above is indistinguishable to a weighted 5-MA via weights given by(left). In basic, a weighted (m)-MA deserve to be composed as< hatT_t = sum_j=-k^k a_j y_t+j,>where (k=(m-1)/2), and also the weights are given by (left). It is necessary that the weights all sum to one and that they are symmetric so that (a_j = a_-j). The easy (m)-MA is a special instance wbelow every one of the weights are equal to (1/m).

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A significant benefit of weighted moving averages is that they yield a smoother estimate of the trend-cycle. Instead of monitorings entering and also leaving the calculation at complete weight, their weights progressively boost and then slowly decrease, leading to a smovarious other curve.