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Consumer Metrics Institute: A Graphic Peek Into Our Dark Economic Future

This last graph has the advantage of providing more of a glimpse into the future. Granted, this means we're cheating a little here and there, but not nearly enough to dismiss the data offhand. The upshot is that, as mentioned before, the CMI Indices follow consumer behavior on a daily and constantly updated basis. The 91-day Index, which has the least data to rely on, will always show the most volatility, and point forward more than the other two. You choose which one you think is more accurate. Please note the GDP Q3 and Q4 data (dark green bars), which I this time around based on a guesstimate of the averages of the 3 CMI Indices, not just the 91-day. They are less negative than in the first graph, but still solidly less than zero (-1% in Q3, -3% in Q4). Note also that in the case where we've provided for the time-shift inherent in the graphs, GDP would likely be far more negative than in the case where we don't. For now, I based the projection on the mid-case, the yellow line 183-day Index. Since things have worsened substantially towards the more recent data, my projections are more likely to underestimate the fall than to exaggerate it. Finally, lest we forget, Doug Short also incorporates the S&P 500 into his CMI graphs. Now, obviously the S&P is updated daily. Somewhat curiously, though, it proves itself to be a quite severely lagging indicator. If you align the peaks and troughs we've been looking at, which are quite pronounced and far too similar in shape to ignore, the S&P runs about 3 months behind the BEA's official US GDP data, which means that it's as much as 6 months behind the 91-day CMI numbers.

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