Latest Macro and Markets Dashboard: United States
I’ve made some adjustments to the dashboard. Several new variables have been added, including the purchasing managers index (below), which is dangerously low (48.6 in November). New labor market indicators cover wage and output growth, which have reversed after a long stretch of relative wage stagnation, and the labor force participation rate, which remains low, even as unemployment returns to medium-run equilibrium levels.
Equity market coverage has been expanded to cover the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the Nasdaq-100. The Nasdaq has dramatically outperformed the DJIA and S&P 500 since the financial crisis. I’ve also added the Shiller index of price to earning ratios. On the index charts, I’ve added a light gray moving average line, which factors in the 50 weeks before the present value.
As the federal funds rate increases over the coming years, it will be interesting to track some bond market indicators, such as real yield curve rates on treasuries, and corporate bond yields. These variables have been added to the dashboard.
The latest dashboard: Macro and Markets Dashboard: United States
U.S. markets were relatively quiet during the short week. Market volatility, as measures by the VIX, decreased during the week. The dollar weakened against the euro, yen, and yuan, but strengthened against the rand, Mexican peso, and real.
Interestingly, as noted in this week’s episode of FT Alphachat, two of the best performing assets during 2015 were Ukrainian and Argentine sovereign debt!
Latest dashboard: Macro and Markets Dashboard: United States
The Fed’s first rate hike since the crisis has taken place smoothly. The S&P was up on Wednesday, following the announcement, but closed basically flat on the week. Oil closed under $35 a barrel on Friday, and the U.S. Dollar strengthened further against the Canadian dollar, the South African Rand, and the Russian Ruble.
Monthly CPI figures showed that inflation remains practically zero. Capacity utilization was down half a percent on the month.
The latest version of the US macro and markets dashboard is now available. In this update, I’ve appended a table which shows the value of the U.S. dollar vis-à-vis other currencies. Notable developments include the U.S. dollar strengthening against the Canadian dollar earlier in the week, and the South African Rand (ZAR) weakening by more than three percent against the dollar over on Friday.
Elsewhere in the dashboard, crude oil prices have fallen further, the personal savings rate climbed to 5.6 percent, and the unemployment rate remained flat at 5 percent. The S&P 500 fell 78 points during the week. The effective federal funds rate has been near zero since late 2008, so it will be interesting to see how markets react to the outcome of the next FOMC meeting. Most economists predict a rate hike of 0.25 percent.
A recent assignment involved examining movements in a U.S. macroeconomic variable through the business cycle. I took a simplified look at the current account balance, from the perspective of consumption and demand for imports. I hope it serves as a helpful example of how LaTeX can be used for short reports.
U.S. Current Account Balance – Empirical Exercise
To monitor for interesting economic developments, I’ve created a dashboard of 24 macroeconomic and market-related indicators. The wide variety of indicators include GDP growth, the trade-weighted dollar, food prices, and U.S. government bond yield spreads.
All indicators are retrieved from Quandl using Stata, so updates take only two clicks. Please check out the dashboard and send me your feedback.