Economic Update - August, 2019
posted on Wed, Aug 21, 2019
I am from the mindset that we should invest having a long-term and goal oriented approach. Daily news reports should not dictate how our money is invested. With
that in mind we should always have an eye on what the economy is doing on a macro level. Since 1955, the U.S. has experienced nine recessions. My goal with this report is to help identify the next recession so that we can make adjustments to your investment strategy accordingly.
Analyzing the economy is far from an exact science and with of all the data now available at our fingertips it is easy to run around in circles without coming to any real conclusions. I have found that by focusing our attention on three macro level reports we can get a general idea of where the U.S. economy is currently and make investment decisions accordingly.
1) Inverted Yield Curve
An inverted yield curve is when the 2 year U.S. treasury rate falls below the 10 year U.S. treasury rate for a 30 day period. The last 9 times this happened (since 1955), the U.S. economy entered a recession within the next 16 months (on average).
As of August 21, 2019 the 10 year Treasury rate is 1.566% and the 2 year Treasury rate is 1.534%. That is a positive difference of 0.032%. We had a slight inversion of the yield curve on August 14, 2019 and since then it has reverted back to a normal yield curve, although it is very close to inverting again.
2) FRED Smoothed Recession Probability
This is a model which attempts to predict the probability of a recession based on non-farm payroll employment, the index of industrial production, real personal income excluding transfer payments, and real manufacturing and trade sales. Historically, three consecutive months of smoothed probabilities above 80% has been a reliable signal of the start of a new recession, while three consecutive months of smoothed probabilities below 20% has been a reliable signal of the start of a new expansion.
The data for this model is usually a couple months in arrears and as of June 30, 2019 the probability for a recession is 0.88%.
3) Economic PI Baseline
By plotting 19 key economic indicators, the BaR Analysis Grid© clarifies current economic conditions and signals how near the economy is to a recession. The mean of coordinates (MoC) is the average of all plotted points. It indicates the overall health of the economy.
There is a lot of data illustrated on the chart, but as of August 16, 2019 the MoC is still not in the zone which would signify the start of a recession. It has not moved a lot over the past year.
There are 4 major stages to an economic cycle:
1) Early Recession - Consumer expectations are at their worst, industrial production is falling, interest rates are at their highest and the yield curve is flat or even inverted.
2) Full Recession - GDP has been retracting quarter over quarter, interest rates are falling, consumer expectations have bottomed and the yield curve is normal.
3) Early Recovery - Consumer expectations are rising, industrial production is growing, interest rates have bottomed and the yield curve is beginning to get steeper.
4) Late Recovery - Interest rates can be rising rapidly, with a flattening yield curve. Consumer expectations are beginning to decline and industrial production is flat.
Based on the data from this report, as of August 21, 2019 it appears that we are still in the late recovery phase and we do not appear to be entering the early recession phase in the short-term. The best guess would be that we could approach the next phase in the next 12-18 months.
Please feel free to contact me anytime to discuss in more detail.