OECD Indicators paint a confusing picture

Leading IndsNov09.jpgLeading indicators are useful reference tools, but sometimes they can also mislead. The chart above, from the ACC’s excellent weekly report, seems to provide a good example of this problem.

The blue line shows the official Leading Indicator for the OECD area plus the 6 major non-OECD countries. It suggests that a strong recovery is underway. Yet actual global industrial production (the red line) is only showing a very weak recovery.

The problem is that the OECD Indicator has to use “expectation-dependent” indicators such as share and commodity prices. These have been on a roll recently, as financial investors bet on a V-shaped recovery. But as the blog has noted, at today’s levels, factors such as higher crude oil prices can actually slow down recovery, rather than support it.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. He also serves as a Global Expert for the World Economic Forum. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry and the global economy over the next 12 – 18 months. It looks behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in critical areas such as oil prices, China and Emerging Markets, currencies, autos, housing, economic growth and the environment. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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