Category Archives: Economic Forecasts

The Yield Curve – June 28, 2017

Many people believe that the Yield Curve is an important economic indicator.

On March 1, 2010, I wrote a post on the issue, titled “The Yield Curve As A Leading Economic Indicator.”

An excerpt from that post:

On the NY Fed link above, they have posted numerous studies that support the theory that the yield curve is a leading indicator.   My objections with using it as a leading indicator, especially now, are various.  These objections include: I don’t think such a narrow measure is one that can be relied upon;  both the yields at the short and long-end of the curve have been overtly and officially manipulated, thus distorting the curve; and, although the yield curve may have been an accurate leading indicator in the past, this period of economic weakness is inherently dissimilar in nature from past recessions and depressions in a multitude of ways – thus, historical yardsticks and metrics probably won’t (and have not) proven appropriate.

While I continue to have the above-stated reservations regarding the “yield curve” as an indicator, I do believe that it should be monitored.

As an indication of the yield curve, below is a weekly chart from January 1, 1990 through June 27, 2017.  The top two plots show the 10-Year Treasury and 2-Year Treasury yields.  The third plot shows the (yield) spread between the 10-Year Treasury and 2-Year Treasury, with the June 27, 2017 closing value of .83%.  The bottom plot shows the S&P500:

(click on chart to enlarge image)(chart courtesy of StockCharts.com; chart creation and annotation by the author)

U.S. Yield Curve with components

Additionally, below is a chart showing the same spread between the 10-Year Treasury and 2-Year Treasury, albeit with a slightly different measurement, using constant maturity securities.  This daily chart is from June 1, 1976 through June 26, 2017, with recessionary periods shown in gray. This chart shows a value of .78%:

U.S. Yield Curve proxy

source:  Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 10-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Minus 2-Year Treasury Constant Maturity [T10Y2Y], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed June 28, 2017:

https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/T10Y2Y

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2419.38 as this post is written

Updates Of Economic Indicators June 2017

Here is an update of various indicators that are supposed to predict and/or depict economic activity. These indicators have been discussed in previous blog posts:

The June 2017 Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) updated as of June 26, 2017:

The CFNAI, with current reading of -.26:

CFNAI_6-26-17

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago Fed National Activity Index [CFNAI], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, June 26, 2017;

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CFNAI

The CFNAI-MA3, with current reading of .04:

CFNAI-MA3_6-26-17

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago Fed National Activity Index: Three Month Moving Average [CFNAIMA3], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, June 26, 2017;

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CFNAIMA3

The ECRI WLI (Weekly Leading Index):

As of June 23, 2017 (incorporating data through June 16, 2017) the WLI was at 143.7 and the WLI, Gr. was at 3.4%.

A chart of the WLI,Gr., from Doug Short’s ECRI update post of June 23, 2017:

ECRI WLI,Gr.

The Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions (ADS) Index:

Here is the latest chart, depicting the ADS Index from December 31, 2007 through June 17, 2017:

ADS Index

The Conference Board Leading (LEI), Coincident (CEI) Economic Indexes, and Lagging Economic Indicator (LAG):

As per the June 22, 2017 press release, titled “The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. Increased in May” (pdf) the LEI was at 127.0, the CEI was at 115.3, and the LAG was 124.2 in May.

An excerpt from the release:

“The U.S. LEI continued on its upward trend in May, suggesting the economy is likely to remain on, or perhaps even moderately above, its long-term trend of about 2 percent growth for the remainder of the year,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “The improvement was widespread among the majority of the leading indicators except for housing permits, which declined again. And, the average workweek in manufacturing has recently shown no sign of improvement.”

Here is a chart of the LEI from Doug Short’s Conference Board Leading Economic Index update of June 22, 2017:

Conference Board LEI

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2439.97 as this post is written

Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI)

The St. Louis Fed’s Financial Stress Index (STLFSI) is one index that is supposed to measure stress in the financial system.  Its reading as of the June 15, 2017 update (reflecting data through June 9, 2017) is -1.589.

Of course, there are a variety of other measures and indices that are supposed to measure financial stress and other related issues, both from the Federal Reserve as well as from private sources.

Two other indices that I regularly monitor include the Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) as well as the Chicago Fed Adjusted National Financial Conditions Index (ANFCI).

Here are summary descriptions of each, as seen in FRED:

The National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) measures risk, liquidity and leverage in money markets and debt and equity markets as well as in the traditional and “shadow” banking systems. Positive values of the NFCI indicate financial conditions that are tighter than average, while negative values indicate financial conditions that are looser than average.

The adjusted NFCI (ANFCI). This index isolates a component of financial conditions uncorrelated with economic conditions to provide an update on how financial conditions compare with current economic conditions.

For further information, please visit the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s web site:

http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/publications/nfci/index.cfm

Below are the most recently updated charts of the NFCI and ANFCI, respectively.

The NFCI chart below was last updated on June 21, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through June 16, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The June 16, 2017 value is -.89:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed June 21, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NFCI

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on June 21, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through June 16, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The June 16 value is -.38:

ANFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed June 21, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/ANFCI

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2437.39 as this post is written

Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI)

The St. Louis Fed’s Financial Stress Index (STLFSI) is one index that is supposed to measure stress in the financial system.  Its reading as of the June 8, 2017 update (reflecting data through June 2, 2017) is -1.58.

Of course, there are a variety of other measures and indices that are supposed to measure financial stress and other related issues, both from the Federal Reserve as well as from private sources.

Two other indices that I regularly monitor include the Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) as well as the Chicago Fed Adjusted National Financial Conditions Index (ANFCI).

Here are summary descriptions of each, as seen in FRED:

The National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) measures risk, liquidity and leverage in money markets and debt and equity markets as well as in the traditional and “shadow” banking systems. Positive values of the NFCI indicate financial conditions that are tighter than average, while negative values indicate financial conditions that are looser than average.

The adjusted NFCI (ANFCI). This index isolates a component of financial conditions uncorrelated with economic conditions to provide an update on how financial conditions compare with current economic conditions.

For further information, please visit the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s web site:

http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/publications/nfci/index.cfm

Below are the most recently updated charts of the NFCI and ANFCI, respectively.

The NFCI chart below was last updated on June 14, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through June 9, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The June 9, 2017 value is -.86:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed June 14, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NFCI

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on June 14, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through June 9, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The June 9 value is -.42:

ANFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed June 14, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/ANFCI

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2437.91 as this post is written

Deflation Probabilities – June 8, 2017 Update

While I do not agree with the current readings of the measure – I think the measure dramatically understates the probability of deflation, as measured by the CPI – the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta maintains an interesting data series titled “Deflation Probabilities.”

As stated on the site:

Using estimates derived from Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) markets, described in a technical appendix, this weekly report provides two measures of the probability of consumer price index (CPI) deflation through 2022.

A chart shows the trends of the probabilities.  As one can see in the chart, the readings are volatile.

As for the current weekly reading, the June 8, 2017 update states the following:

The 2017–22 deflation probability was 6 percent on June 7, unchanged from May 31. The 2016–21 deflation probability was 2 percent on June 7, up from 1 percent on May 31. These 2016–21 and 2017–22 deflation probabilities, measuring the likelihoods of net declines in the consumer price index over the five-year periods starting in early 2016 and early 2017, are estimated from prices of the five-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) issued in April 2016 and April 2017 and the 10-year TIPS issued in July 2011 and July 2012.

_________

I post various economic indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2425.42 this post is written

The June 2017 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey

The June 2017 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey was published on June 8, 2017.  The headline is “Unresolved U.S. Debt Ceiling Casts a Shadow Over Many Forecasters’ Economic Outlooks.”

I found numerous items to be notable – although I don’t necessarily agree with them – both within the article and in the “Economist Q&A” section.

An excerpt:

Forecasters in The Wall Street Journal’s monthly survey have raised their assessments of the risk facing the U.S. economy. For the first time since the presidential election, a majority of economists in the survey are concerned the economy could do worse than forecast.

As seen in the “Recession Probability” section, the average response as to the odds of another recession starting within the next 12 months was 15.80%. The individual estimates, of those who responded, ranged from 0% to 33%.  For reference, the average response in May’s survey was 15.27%.

As stated in the article, the survey’s respondents were 60 academic, financial and business economists.  Not every economist answered every question.  The survey occurred on June 2, 2017 to June 6, 2017.

The current average forecasts among economists polled include the following:

GDP:

full-year 2017:  2.3%

full-year 2018:  2.4%

full-year 2019:  2.0%

Unemployment Rate:

December 2017: 4.3%

December 2018: 4.1%

December 2019: 4.3%

10-Year Treasury Yield:

December 2017: 2.66%

December 2018: 3.20%

December 2019: 3.57%

CPI:

December 2017:  2.1%

December 2018:  2.3%

December 2019:  2.3%

Crude Oil  ($ per bbl):

for 12/31/2017: $50.95

for 12/31/2018: $53.31

(note: I highlight this WSJ Economic Forecast survey each month; commentary on past surveys can be found under the “Economic Forecasts” category)

_____

I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with many of the consensus estimates and much of the commentary in these forecast surveys.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2426.92 as post is written

Long-Term Charts Of The ECRI WLI & ECRI WLI, Gr. – June 9, 2017 Update

As I stated in my July 12, 2010 post (“ECRI WLI Growth History“):

For a variety of reasons, I am not as enamored with ECRI’s WLI and WLI Growth measures as many are.

However, I do think the measures are important and deserve close monitoring and scrutiny.

Below are three long-term charts, from Doug Short’s ECRI update post of June 9, 2017 titled “ECRI Weekly Leading Index…”  These charts are on a weekly basis through the June 9, 2017 release, indicating data through June 2, 2017.

Here is the ECRI WLI (defined at ECRI’s glossary):

ECRI WLI

This next chart depicts, on a long-term basis, the Year-over-Year change in the 4-week moving average of the WLI:

This last chart depicts, on a long-term basis, the WLI, Gr.:

ECRI WLI,Gr.

_________

I post various economic indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2445.64 as this post is written

Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI)

The St. Louis Fed’s Financial Stress Index (STLFSI) is one index that is supposed to measure stress in the financial system.  Its reading as of the June 1, 2017 update (reflecting data through May 26, 2017) is -1.546.

Of course, there are a variety of other measures and indices that are supposed to measure financial stress and other related issues, both from the Federal Reserve as well as from private sources.

Two other indices that I regularly monitor include the Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) as well as the Chicago Fed Adjusted National Financial Conditions Index (ANFCI).

Here are summary descriptions of each, as seen in FRED:

The National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) measures risk, liquidity and leverage in money markets and debt and equity markets as well as in the traditional and “shadow” banking systems. Positive values of the NFCI indicate financial conditions that are tighter than average, while negative values indicate financial conditions that are looser than average.

The adjusted NFCI (ANFCI). This index isolates a component of financial conditions uncorrelated with economic conditions to provide an update on how financial conditions compare with current economic conditions.

For further information, please visit the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s web site:

http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/publications/nfci/index.cfm

Below are the most recently updated charts of the NFCI and ANFCI, respectively.

The NFCI chart below was last updated on June 7, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through June 2, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The June 2, 2017 value is -.82:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed June 7, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NFCI

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on June 7, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through June 2, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The June 2 value is -.41:

ANFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed June 7, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/ANFCI

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2431.94 as this post is written

Recession Probability Models – June 2017

There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession.

While I don’t agree with the methodologies employed or probabilities of impending economic weakness as depicted by the following two models, I think the results of these models should be monitored.

Please note that each of these models is updated regularly, and the results of these – as well as other recession models – can fluctuate significantly.

The first is the “Yield Curve as a Leading Indicator” from the New York Federal Reserve.  I wrote a post concerning this measure on March 1, 2010, titled “The Yield Curve as a Leading Indicator.”

Currently (last updated June 2, 2017 using data through May) this “Yield Curve” model shows a 7.8283% probability of a recession in the United States twelve months ahead.  For comparison purposes, it showed a 7.0143% probability through April, and a chart going back to 1960 is seen at the “Probability Of U.S. Recession Predicted by Treasury Spread.” (pdf)

The second model is from Marcelle Chauvet and Jeremy Piger.  This model is described on the St. Louis Federal Reserve site (FRED) as follows:

Smoothed recession probabilities for the United States are obtained from a dynamic-factor markov-switching model applied to four monthly coincident variables: non-farm payroll employment, the index of industrial production, real personal income excluding transfer payments, and real manufacturing and trade sales. This model was originally developed in Chauvet, M., “An Economic Characterization of Business Cycle Dynamics with Factor Structure and Regime Switching,” International Economic Review, 1998, 39, 969-996. (http://faculty.ucr.edu/~chauvet/ier.pdf)

Additional details and explanations can be seen on the “U.S. Recession Probabilities” page.

This model, last updated on June 1, 2017, currently shows a .48% probability using data through March.

Here is the FRED chart (last updated June 1, 2017):

Probability of U.S. Recession

Data Source:  Piger, Jeremy Max and Chauvet, Marcelle, Smoothed U.S. Recession Probabilities [RECPROUSM156N], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed June 5, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/RECPROUSM156N

The two models featured above can be compared against measures seen in recent blog posts.  For instance, as seen in the May 11 post titled “The May 2017 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey“ economists surveyed averaged a 15.27% probability of a U.S. recession within the next 12 months.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2436.10 as this post is written

Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI)

The St. Louis Fed’s Financial Stress Index (STLFSI) is one index that is supposed to measure stress in the financial system.  Its reading as of the June 1, 2017 update (reflecting data through May 26, 2017) is -1.546.

Of course, there are a variety of other measures and indices that are supposed to measure financial stress and other related issues, both from the Federal Reserve as well as from private sources.

Two other indices that I regularly monitor include the Chicago Fed National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) as well as the Chicago Fed Adjusted National Financial Conditions Index (ANFCI).

Here are summary descriptions of each, as seen in FRED:

The National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) measures risk, liquidity and leverage in money markets and debt and equity markets as well as in the traditional and “shadow” banking systems. Positive values of the NFCI indicate financial conditions that are tighter than average, while negative values indicate financial conditions that are looser than average.

The adjusted NFCI (ANFCI). This index isolates a component of financial conditions uncorrelated with economic conditions to provide an update on how financial conditions compare with current economic conditions.

For further information, please visit the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s web site:

http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/publications/nfci/index.cfm

Below are the most recently updated charts of the NFCI and ANFCI, respectively.

The NFCI chart below was last updated on June 1, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through May 26, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The May 26, 2017 value is -.86:

NFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed June 1, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NFCI

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on June 1, 2017 incorporating data from January 5,1973 through May 26, 2017, on a weekly basis.  The May 26 value is -.38:

ANFCI

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed June 1, 2017:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/ANFCI

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2421.24 as this post is written