Thursday, May 29, 2014

Financial Cycles

You never know what's gonna turn up.

Responding to Steve Roth, I poked and prodded "assets" just a bit at FRED. This one didn't allow me to make any bold claims, so I didn't use it:

Graph #1: Total Financial Assets as a Percent of Total Assets, among Households
But thinking about it later, I remembered it as a cyclic pattern. The repeating ups and downs. There was a sudden slight gasp, and I said I wonder if that matches Borio's financial cycle.

I pulled Borio's graph from an old post:

Graph #2 (Borio's): The Business Cycle (red) and the Financial Cycle (blue)
As it happens, Borio's graph has a see-through background. Made my day. I overlaid his graph on the other, then scaled it down and moved it to make the dates match and the recession bars line up. I got tips from for both overlaying and scaling. I hope it works on everybody's device.

Borio's graph has a gray background, so it's easy to find on the FRED graph. The numbers are tiny and hard to read, but you can see the recession bars okay, and you can refer back to Graph #2 for the numbers. Here's the FRED graph with the Borio overlay:

bottom image
top image
Graph #3: The Combo Graph
Nah, the blue lines don't show a similar pattern. Too bad. But I noticed something: There is a definite downtrend during the Great Inflation, when financial asset values eroded.

Before the Great Inflation, when the economy was good, there was an uptrend. And toward the end, during the bubbles, there were uptrends... Maybe not during the bubbles. That last uptrend runs from 2006 to 2011, like after the bubble and all through the crisis. Huh.

The ratio of financial assets to total assets doesn't seem related to economic performance. I find that surprising. No conclusions yet.

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