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The economy: We agree, disagree and commit.

Ashwin Ramasamy
Ashwin Ramasamy
Apr 12, 2022
6
Min Read

In layman's terms, if we have compressed economic activity all around for months together, we are in a recession.

  1. We have an adverse supply shock (Initially stock wasn't available. But we might head into an overstock situation soon. More on it below)
  2. We have inflationary pressure (This may lead to lower spends, which will trigger the above)
  3. We have a pandemic induced slowdown in activity ('What pandemic?', you may ask. Read this before it is taken down)
  4. We have a war

These are usually strong contributing reasons for a recession.

Now let's move from causes to correlations.

Usually, when the yield curve inverts, it precedes a recession by 6-18 months. If you don't pretend to be smart or not an economics nerd, here is where I'd expect you to close this essay and switch to Netflix. Who wants to be told on a Sunday that they aren't smart. That's why I read what this means. Stay with me. It's easy.

Let's break the term down: 'Yield' and 'Curve'. Yield simply means what you get back for the money you put in bonds. If you expect the economy to grow, you'll keep the money for a longer time in the bonds (or at least the part that you allocated for bonds). If you expect uncertainty, you will keep it for a shorter duration and cash it out at the end of the (short) duration. If every bond investor prefers short term bonds over long term ones, the yield for short term ones becomes more than long term ones.

Let's look at the curve. Short duration, low yield. Long duration, more yields. So this when you plot, resembles a flight take off – Low altitude (yield) in the beginning (of time). What's happening now is a preparation for landing – we are still mid-air. So the altitude (yield) is high but everyone expects a landing shortly. The curve will be that of a flight landing. Are you with me?

Now let's look at the curve (It beats me why no article on yield curve actually has the curve. Show me the rainbow if you describe the rainbow!)

The above chart simply says that if the yield difference between short term and long term bond yields are zero or negative (Y-axis), it is a good indicator of an upcoming recession. We are not there yet but the 3-month yield curve has already inverted (not shown in this graph).

So ultimately, it's just what everyone thinks. If the world thinks we are in a recession, we are – not spontaneously but over a period of time, as the mood catches on. That mood reflects over 6-18 months after bond traders start trading more in short term, high yield bonds. The stock market may agree or disagree but once the consumer spend falls, it becomes a moot point and everyone ultimately commits to acknowledging that we are in a recession.

To be clear, we are not in a recession but technically I will never be wrong in predicting one because there is always one that will come. What is not known is if it's 6 months or 18 months away.

I prefer another leading indicator that is closer home for us folks in the world of eCommerce.

Both top retailers and top DTC brands are seeing a decline in traffic growth rate. But this curve has inverted for the last 6 months, indicating a cool-off in eCommerce growth post-pandemic.

A cool-off is not bad. We had phenomenal growth in the last years. So we need to look beyond just traffic. The consumer sentiment index has been falling too and it's the lowest in a while.

I have more charts to throw. The 'Visa Spending Momentum' charts are trending above 100 (which means there is no slowdown in spending yet). Retail footfalls are increasing. That partly explains the eCommerce growth cool off.

We are going to study some more charts and indices deeply in the coming two weeks and present an 'eCommerce Economy' report.

Until then, here is a working theory if you need a short version:

  1. We are not in a recession (but I tell this in the same way one can say that it's not 7 PM yet when the clock shows 6 PM)
  2. Consumer spending is still robust
  3. eCommerce is already cooling off. If the bond traders are right and we are headed towards a recession, the cool off will move to long winter
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Freedom from non-Commerce databases.
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Be a Segmentation Superpower
eCommerce-specfic lead qualification criteria
Freedom from non-Commerce databases.
Predictable demand generation. Very precise segmentation & messaging.
Free Trial
Slips poor jokes & gets away with a poker face. Carries a no BS attitude at getting things done. First to arrive at the office, Ashwin’s energy does not ebb through the day. Ashwin is one of the co-founders and he sets the tone for marketing, sales, design & culture.
Slips poor jokes & gets away with a poker face. Carries a no BS attitude at getting things done. First to arrive at the office, Ashwin’s energy does not ebb through the day. Ashwin is one of the co-founders and he sets the tone for marketing, sales, design & culture.
hm.com
HQ Location: Beaverton, Oregon, United States Of America, 97005
hm.com, operated by H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB, is an internationally-focused online store that generates eCommerce net sales primarily in Germany as well as in the United States and the United Kingdom. With regards to the product range, hm.com achieves the greatest part of its eCommerce net sales in the “Fashion” category.
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Slips poor jokes & gets away with a poker face. Carries a no BS attitude at getting things done. First to arrive at the office, Ashwin’s energy does not ebb through the day. Ashwin is one of the co-founders and he sets the tone for marketing, sales, design & culture.
Slips poor jokes & gets away with a poker face. Carries a no BS attitude at getting things done. First to arrive at the office, Ashwin’s energy does not ebb through the day. Ashwin is one of the co-founders and he sets the tone for marketing, sales, design & culture.
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