Category Archives: Economic Forecasts

The October 2018 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey

The October 2018 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey was published on October 11, 2018.  The headline is “WSJ Survey:  Economists Increasingly Confident of Fed Rate Hikes.”

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:

Private economists have continued to raise their projections for interest rates through next year, showing greater agreement with the Federal Reserve’s expectations, according to The Wall Street Journal’s latest survey.

All 57 respondents expected the Fed to raise its benchmark federal-funds rate once more this year. Looking further ahead, 42% forecast three central-bank rate rises in 2019, while 21% project four. In last month’s survey, the shares were 41% and 17%, respectively.

As seen in the “Recession Probability” section, the average response as to the odds of another recession starting within the next 12 months was 17.64%. The individual estimates, of those who responded, ranged from 0% to 50%.  For reference, the average response in September’s survey was 17.73%.

As stated in the article, the survey’s respondents were 57 academic, financial and business economists.  Not every economist answered every question.  The survey was conducted October 5 – October 9, 2018.

The current average forecasts among economists polled include the following:

GDP:

full-year 2018:  3.1%

full-year 2019:  2.4%

full-year 2020:  1.8%

full-year 2021:  1.8%

Unemployment Rate:

December 2018: 3.7%

December 2019: 3.6%

December 2020: 3.8%

December 2021: 4.1%

10-Year Treasury Yield:

December 2018: 3.24%

December 2019: 3.50%

December 2020: 3.47%

December 2021: 3.53%

CPI:

December 2018:  2.50%

December 2019:  2.30%

December 2020:  2.30%

December 2021:  2.20%

Crude Oil  ($ per bbl):

for 12/31/2018: $73.72

for 12/31/2019: $70.86

for 12/31/2020: $68.27

for 12/31/2021: $66.33

(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 2744.12 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 October 11, 2018 update (reflecting data through October 5, 2018) is -1.263.

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 October 11, 2018 incorporating data from January 8, 1971 through October 5, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The October 5 value is -.89:

NFCI_10-11-18 -.89

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed October 11, 2018:

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

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on October 11, 2018 incorporating data from January 8,1971 through October 5, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The October 5 value is -.76:

ANFCI_10-11-18 -.76

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed October 11, 2018:

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 2764.40 as this post is written

CEO Confidence Surveys 3Q 2018 – Notable Excerpts

On October 4, 2018, The Conference Board released the 3rd Quarter Measure Of CEO Confidence.   The overall measure of CEO Confidence was at 55, down from 63 in the second quarter. [note:  a reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses]

Notable excerpts from this October 4 Press Release include:

CEOs’ assessment of current economic conditions is less positive, with 49 percent saying conditions are better compared to six months ago, down from 74 percent last quarter. However, 43 percent of CEOs say conditions have remained the same, and only 8 percent say conditions are worse. CEOs were also less optimistic about current conditions in their own industries compared to six months ago. Now, about 31 percent say conditions are better compared to 51 percent last quarter.

Looking ahead, CEOs’ expectations regarding the economic outlook are also less optimistic than last quarter. Now, just 23 percent expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, compared to 48 percent in the second quarter. About 22 percent expect economic conditions will worsen, compared to 14 percent last quarter. CEOs’ expectations regarding short-term prospects in their own industries over the next six months were also less optimistic. Now, only 22 percent anticipate an improvement in conditions, down from 42 percent last quarter. Some 19 percent expect conditions to worsen, up from just 9 percent in the second quarter.

Last month, The Business Roundtable also released its CEO Economic Outlook Survey for the 3rd Quarter of 2018.   Notable excerpts from the release, titled “Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index Remains Strong, Declines Slightly in Q3“:

The Q3 2018 CEO Economic Outlook Index was 109.3, a decline of 1.8 points from 111.1 in the second quarter of 2018. At 109.3, the Q3 Index is the fifth-highest in the survey’s 16-year history and well above the historical average of 81.6. This is the seventh straight quarter where the Index has exceeded its historical average, signaling a continued positive direction for the U.S. economy.

also:

In their fourth estimate of 2018 U.S. GDP growth, CEOs projected 2.8 percent growth for the year, up slightly from their 2.7 percent estimate in the second quarter.

Additional details can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

_____

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 2888.02 as this post is written

Deflation Probabilities – October 4, 2018 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 October 4, 2018 update states the following:

The 2017–22 and 2018–23 deflation probabilities were 5 percent on October 3, unchanged from their readings on September 26. These deflation probabilities, measuring the likelihoods of net declines in the consumer price index over the five-year periods starting in early 2017 and early 2018, are estimated from prices of the five-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) issued in April 2017 and April 2018 and the 10-year TIPS issued in July 2012 and July 2013.

_________

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 2901.61 as this post is written

Recession Probability Models – October 2018

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 October 2, 2018 using data through September) this “Yield Curve” model shows a 14.5054% probability of a recession in the United States twelve months ahead.  For comparison purposes, it showed a 14.6145% probability through August, 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 October 1, 2018, currently shows a .30% probability using data through July.

Here is the FRED chart (last updated October 1, 2018):

RECPROUSM156N

Data Source:  Piger, Jeremy Max and Chauvet, Marcelle, Smoothed U.S. Recession Probabilities [RECPROUSM156N], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed October 4, 2018:

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 September 13, 2018 post titled “The September 2018 Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Survey“ economists surveyed averaged a 17.73% probability of a U.S. recession within the next 12 months.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2925.51 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 September 27, 2018 update (reflecting data through September 21, 2018) is -1.304.

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 October 3, 2018 incorporating data from January 8, 1971 through September 28, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The September 28 value is -.86:

NFCI_10-3-18 -.86

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed October 3, 2018:

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

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on October 3, 2018 incorporating data from January 8,1971 through September 28, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The September 28 value is -.73:

ANFCI_10-3-18 -.73

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed October 3, 2018:

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 2923.43 as this post is written

Long-Term Charts Of The ECRI WLI & ECRI WLI, Gr. – September 28, 2018 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 the Doug Short site’s ECRI update post of September 28, 2018 titled “ECRI Weekly Leading Index Update.”  These charts are on a weekly basis through the September 28, 2018 release, indicating data through September 21, 2018.

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

ECRI WLI 148.5

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

ECRI WLI YoY of the Four-Week Moving Average

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

ECRI WLI, Gr. .4

_________

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 2913.85 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 September 20, 2018 update (reflecting data through September 14, 2018) is -1.295.

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 September 26, 2018 incorporating data from January 8, 1971 through September 21, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The September 21 value is -.88:

NFCI_9-26-18 -.88

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed September 26, 2018:

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

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on September 26, 2018 incorporating data from January 8,1971 through September 21, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The September 21 value is -.73:

ANFCI_9-26-18 -.73

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed September 26, 2018:

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 2905.97 as this post is written

Updates Of Economic Indicators September 2018

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 September 2018 Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) updated as of September 24, 2018:

The CFNAI, with current reading of .18:

CFNAI_9-24-18 .18

source:  Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago Fed National Activity Index [CFNAI], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, September 24, 2018;

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

The CFNAI-MA3, with current reading of .24:

CFNAIMA3_9-24-18 .24

source:  Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago Fed National Activity Index: Three Month Moving Average [CFNAIMA3], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, September 24, 2018;

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

The ECRI WLI (Weekly Leading Index):

As of September 21, 2018 (incorporating data through September 14, 2018) the WLI was at 148.3 and the WLI, Gr. was at .2%.

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

Here is the latest chart, depicting the ADS Index from December 31, 2007 through September 15, 2018:

ADS Index

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

As per the September 20, 2018 press release, titled “The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. Increased in August” (pdf) the LEI was at 111.2, the CEI was at 104.3, and the LAG was 105.4 in August.

An excerpt from the release:

“The leading indicators are consistent with a solid growth scenario in the second half of 2018 and at this stage of a maturing business cycle in the US, it doesn’t get much better than this,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “The US LEI’s growth trend has moderated since the start of the year. Industrial companies that are more sensitive to the business cycle should be on the lookout for a possible moderation in economic growth in 2019. The strengths among the LEI’s components were very widespread, further supporting an outlook of above 3.0 percent growth for the remainder of 2018.”

_________

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 2916.05 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 September 13, 2018 update (reflecting data through September 7, 2018) is -1.267.

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 September 19, 2018 incorporating data from January 8, 1971 through September 14, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The September 14 value is -.86:

NFCI_9-19-18 -.86

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed September 19, 2018:

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

The ANFCI chart below was last updated on September 19, 2018 incorporating data from January 8,1971 through September 14, 2018, on a weekly basis.  The September 14 value is -.71:

ANFCI_9-19-18 -.71

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed September 19, 2018:

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 2904.31 as this post is written