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During periods of “low visibility,” confusion reigns: for every indication of one trend, there seems to be a countertrend. The key is to glean from the collective wisdom of reliable leading indicators a clear signal that the economy is headed for a turn.

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Weekly Leading Index Slips


The U.S. economy is recovering very slowly and remains vulnerable to shocks such as the recent spike in oil prices, a report said on Friday.

A forward-looking gauge of U.S. economic activity slipped last week, the Economic Cycle Research Institute said.

The index's growth rate, which smooths out weekly fluctuations, also fell, to -0.5 percent from 0.0 percent.

With WLI growth once again dropping into negative territory, the recovery is becoming more vulnerable to shocks, and the oil price spike could be a problem," said Anirvan Banerji, ECRI research director.

Oil prices soared to $40 a barrel on Thursday as jitters over supply during a now likely U.S. attack on Iraq rattled energy markets, but eased back down to $36.85 on Friday.

The Weekly Leading Index is composed of a balance of seven major economic indicators. ECRI designs short- and long-term indexes aimed at predicting business cycles, recessions and recoveries in the world's leading economies.