I take a look at common economic indicators once a quarter or so publicly, usually at the end of each quarter. Now that the UK has voted to leave the EU – and the ensuing economic shock has hit – I thought it would be a good time to examine those indicators again. A couple of days in the market have let the dust settle a little. For reference, here’s where we were at the beginning of 2016.
We begin with the Dow Jones industrial average, which has taken a 900 point haircut.
Even though the index is down significantly, it’s still significantly above where it was earlier this year.
We see similar with the S&P 500:
The past few days have not been kind, but in the bigger picture, there’s still no reason for panic.
We see a sharper impact to the NASDAQ:
This is more telling; the Dow Jones and S&P 500 tend to be perspectives on Big Business, whereas the NASDAQ is more inclusive of smaller publicly-traded companies. Thus, we see the Brexit impact magnified more.
The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, shows the panic well:
Instead of actual prices, the VIX shows how much volatility is in the market. The more uncertainty, the higher the VIX. While high, the VIX is nowhere near where it was during the 2007-2008 Great Recession.
30 Day LIBOR
We look next at LIBOR, the London Interbank Offering Rate. This is the rate which banks charge each other to borrow or lend money for a 30 day period. The higher LIBOR is, the more uncertain banks are of the immediate financial future, because they’d prefer to hold onto cash.
30 Day LIBOR is higher than average, but hasn’t spiked during the Brexit events as we might have expected.
90 Day LIBOR
We see a similar pattern in 90 Day LIBOR, the rate banks charge each other to borrow or lend money for a 90 day period:
The overall conclusion we can draw from interbank lending is that while there’s uncertainty, it’s not the crippling influence we’ve seen in the past.
One of the true bellwethers, the Baltic Dry Index is the price of shipping goods via container ship.
We see that BDI barely moved in the wake of Brexit. This is an indicator we should keep an eye on in the weeks and months to come, but it’s a good sign that companies didn’t immediately cancel plans to ship things.
Where we see market moves is in the panic zone: gold. Gold is known for high volatility during uncertain times, and it does not disappoint:
Gold spiked to over $1,322 per ounce. Given current economic conditions, once the panic wears off, expect it to return to recent levels, unless the global financial system endures more shocks.
We see, in the early days, lots of panic. However, much of the panic is unwarranted when we look at the bigger picture of where markets were in earlier 2016. The fundamental underpinnings are still strong.
Should Brexit continue on – and there’s debate about that – then we can expect shocks to the market down the road, once the separate is truly underway. However, as of right now, only panic is fueling major market moves. Your best bet is to wait a little longer to see what else emerges. There may be legitimate cause for concern, but we have to wait until the dust from the panic cloud clears to truly see what our risk exposure is.
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