Using the Moore Inflation Predictor©
Updated May 16, 2013
By Tim McMahon
The Moore Inflation Predictor© (MIP) is a highly accurate graphical representation designed to forecast the inflation rate. By watching the turning points, we can profit from inflation hedges (like Gold, Real Estate and Energy Producers) when the inflation rate is trending up and from Bonds when the inflation rate is trending down. See Current Commentary below.
In addition, the Moore Inflation Predictor forecast could be used to judge whether to lock in a mortgage rate or wait a month or two for a better rate, since interest rates tend to track inflation rates fairly closely.
Inflation has had a wild ride over the last few years. As recently as July 2008 inflation was at 5.6% but by July of 2009 (only one year later) it had fallen to a negative -2.10% a fall of 7.7% in twelve months. Six months later by January 2010 it was back at 2.63% but it spent most of the end of 2010 around 1.15% coinciding with a low in mortgage rates of about 4.55% in November. Due to QE1 & 2 by August 2011 the inflation rate had worked its way up to 3.77% but from then through July 2012 both inflation and mortgage rates fell with Inflation hitting 1.41% and mortgage rates falling below 3%.
You would think forecasting the inflation rate would be difficult under those conditions but the Moore Inflation Predictor has done fairly well (except on a couple of rare occasions).
In the following chart we can see how the Moore Inflation predictor has done over some of the crazy years we’ve just been through. The first chart is from April 2010 based on the March 2010 data. Even though there was a sharp drop in the inflation rate the MIP did a good job of forecasting it, as the actual (blue line) shows. The actual inflation rate tracked the extreme low almost exactly and held it consistently for nine months. On the tenth month inflation moved back into most likely territory.
The next chart is from December 2011 with the blue reality line added ten months later in September.
To see how well the MIP has done in predicting inflation see some other previous MIP inflation forecasts with a reality line added.
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Current Inflation Prediction for 2013
The monthly data for April was actually negative with prices actually falling 1/10th of a percent over the month. Because April 2012 actually had fairly high inflation the Annual inflation rate dropped quite significantly when the large monthly number was replaced by a negative number. But for the next three months the numbers falling out of the calculations will be negative so that should drive the Annual inflation rate up.
Some of the factors leading to a negative monthly inflation rate for April 2013 were falling energy prices. Gasoline was down -3.7%. Hospital services were down -0.8% and fruits and vegetables were down -1.3%.
The year 2012 was a bit schizophrenic, with 6 months of monthly deflation (where prices went down), those were May, June, July, October, November and December with monthly deflation rates of -0.12%, -0.15%, -0.16%, -0.04%, -0.47% and -0.27% respectively. The average monthly deflation was -0.20% which if it had continued for 12 months would have been -2.42%.
On the other hand, we had six months with very high inflation. They were January, February, March, April, August, and September. Monthly inflation in those months were 0.44%, 0.44%, 0.76%, 0.30%, 0.56% and 0.45% respectively. The average monthly inflation during those six months was 0.45%. If we had had another six months like them the annual inflation rate would have been 5.9%. That is very high and destructive to the economy. So we were lucky to have the negative months to counteract them. But the FED is fearing a resurgence of deflation and so continues to crank up the printing presses.
Prices fell during the negative months primarily because oil prices fell. But Oil prices were up 7% in August and another 4.1% in September erasing earlier price declines. Typically, the forth quarter is where the inflation rate moderates or even declines.
This month’s MIP is forecasting May to be up. Because of the negative inflation in May of 2012 unless May of 2013 has equally negative inflation, the Annual inflation rate will rise during the next three months.
Lately, we have begun tracking the seasonality aspects of inflation and have noted some fairly consistent trends. The first quarter of the year has most of the inflation while the last quarter of the year is generally flat to deflationary. As a matter of fact, in the months since January 1954 there have been 13 negative months in January through June months and 46 negative months in the July through December months. So it appears that the majority of inflation occurs in the first half of the year and then moderates for the second half. One possible explanation is that during the fourth quarter many stores hold massive sales (think Black Friday) to reduce inventory before year-end.
If we look at only October, November and December, since 2001, there have been 8 deflationary 4th quarters and only 3 inflationary 4th quarters. Which is fairly amazing since the overall trend has been inflationary. In 2008 the fourth quarter was -3.91%. Which was exceptional due to the liquidity implosion but even though 2006 was a boom year it still had a negative fourth quarter of -0.54%. The average for the all 4th quarters since 2001 was a deflationary -0.56%.
In May 2012 we began incorporating this seasonality factor into the MIP. Up until now the MIP has used annual metrics to create its projections but this left it susceptible to the seasonal changes.
For more information see Misery Index.
Previously, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher told reporters :
There will be no QE3. I will support no QE3, no additional mortgage-backed securities, no additional Treasuries. Wall Street keeps dangling QE3 out there – I think it’s a fantasy of Wall Street – it’s not going to happen, it’s not necessary.
But then on June 20th 2012 the Federal Reserve decided that the recovery was stalling and so they voted to expand its “Operation Twist” program by swapping $267 billion in U.S Treasury securities by the end of 2012. Previously, ”Operation Twist” was set to end in June. This has boosted the stock market uncharacteristicly in mid-summer (and may have goosed the inflation rate as well). But was it enough to top previous highs in inflation adjusted terms. See Inflation Adjusted Stock Prices.
And then on September 13th, the FED announced that QE3 is necessary and they will be trying once again to reinflate the economy.
Now the FED is expected to buy $600 Billion in Treasuries according to a Reuters poll of 43 economists.
The necessity of additional stimulus lends credence to Robert Prechter’s predictions of increased deflationary pressures as does the monthly deflation in six months of 2012. Do you know the arguments for Deflation? Do you know how to prepare and protect your savings if it does? If you answered no… you need to Download Your Free Deflation eBook from Robert Prechter Here.
For further information see the Current Commentary on the Annual Inflation Chart.
Being a mathematical inflation forecast, the MIP has no way to factor in the massive monetary expansion, actions by China to remove “reserve status” from the U.S. dollar, natural disasters, Stock market crashes, etc. until it starts showing up in the current numbers, so we must be alert for these type of events.
Remember, it takes 1 to 2 years for monetary stimulus to result in inflation, depending on the money multiplier and other factors. See Velocity of Money and Money Multiplier – Why Deflation is Possible for more info.
Is there a correlation between inflation and the stock market ? This chart compares decade inflation and stock market returns during the decade.
Tim McMahon, Editor
Financial Trend Forecaster
P.S. Watch Todays Daily Market Update Presented by 30year Market Veteran Adam Hewison
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