201804.18
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Why The Last One Still Matters (IP Revisions)

Beginning with its very first issue in May 1915, the Federal Reserve’s Bulletin was the place to find a growing body of statistics on US economic performance. Four years later, monthly data was being put together on the physical volumes of trade. From these, in 1922, the precursor to what we know today as Industrial…

201804.16
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The Retail Sales Shortage

Retail sales rose (seasonally adjusted) in March 2018 for the first time in four months. Related to last year’s big hurricanes and the distortions they produced, retail sales had surged in the three months following their immediate aftermath and now appear to be mean reverting toward what looks like the same weak pre-storm baseline. Exactly…

201802.22
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Blaming The Boom Basis

Once the sick man of the global economy, Europe’s system had roared back in 2017. According to the narrative, everything is right right now on the Continent. Manufacturing couldn’t possibly be any better, and the ECB forced into “emergency” monetary measures for longer than almost anyone else (except, as always, Japan) is talking confidently about…

201802.13
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A Boom Of Hysteria

It’s always been easy to lose perspective. In the modern social media age, maybe it has become even easier. Conventional wisdom rarely seems to get challenged anymore, particularly given the assignment of “what everybody knows.” Big Data is, for example, predicated on a very good theory, the wisdom of crowds. It hasn’t yet lived up…

201801.22
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For All That Seems To Go Right, What’s Always Missing?

On April 29, 2011, the US benchmark oil price (WTI) surged above $113 per barrel. It wasn’t just American oil prices, either, as other benchmarks around the world were on a huge run. It was the highest for crude oil in three years, going back to the weeks immediately following Lehman. At that price, more…

201404.24
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Durable Goods Patterns

All economics and finance can be dissolved and distilled into analysis of patterns. Whether that takes the form of a hardened, quantitative approach or something more toward the “eye of the beholder” depends on many factors. I find it useful to blend the two to find compliments and, perhaps more importantly, divergences. Oftentimes the real…