Econintersect: Beginning on 15 November, we will be reporting on a new forecasting tool being produced by the Chicago Fed – nonfinancial leverage subindex of the National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI).
The solid black line is the nonfinancial leverage subindex of the Chicago Fed’s National Financial Conditions Index, and the solid blue line is the ratio of private credit to gross domestic product (GDP) detrended. For ease of comparison, both measures have been scaled to have a mean of zero and a standard deviation of one over the period 1973–2012.
The horizontal (time) axis is measured in weeks. We assign the quarterly private-credit-to-GDP ratio to the last week of each quarter to be able to plot it on the same figure panel as the weekly nonfinancial leverage subindex. The shaded regions in panel A correspond with historical periods of financial stress based on the analysis in Brave and Butters (2012). The shaded regions in panel B correspond with U.S. recessions as defined on a quarterly basis by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The dashed black line is the two-year-ahead prediction threshold for a financial crisis (panel A) and a recession (panel B) calculated for the nonfinancial leverage subindex, as explained in the text.
The Chicago Fed Letter Concludes:
Our nonfinancial leverage indicator signals both the onset and duration of financial crises and their accompanying recessions more reliably at longer lead times than the private-credit-to-GDP ratio.
Beginning with the November 15, 2012, NFCI release, we will include the nonfinancial leverage subindex in the publicly available materials for the NFCI at www.chicagofed.org/nfci.