Yield curves don't indicate recession in the near term: LF Economics

Yield curves don't indicate recession in the near term: LF Economics
Yield curves don't indicate recession in the near term: LF Economics

There is no Australian recession in the immediate horizon, if the yield curve is taken as an indicator, according to LF Economics latest analysis.

The research, Australian Economic Cycles and the Yield Curve, says the yield curve is an accurate predictor of recession and financial instability.

It relies on the 2-Y/10-Y bond yield curve, which it says can indicate larger downturns in economic activity, while avoiding the smaller declines and also the 90-Day/10-Y yield curve, which can detect both large and smaller declines in growth.
 
The economic forecaster says the economy will keep lumbering along without recession despite “anemic levels of real GDP growth, kept in positive territory only by our disgraceful population Quantitative Easing, public sector deficits, household sector dis-saving and record levels of private debt”.

It does note that shocks can swiftly make an impact.

The research is based on the premise that when yields on bond and bills with shorter-term maturities surpass longer-term maturities (the yield spread inverts), it is a “clear indicator economic growth will decline in the near future”.

Typically, the yield curve is calculated by subtracting the 2-Y Treasury bond yield from that of the 10-Y Treasury bond. The US provides a case study for demonstrating the accuracy of the inverted yield curve as a predictor of recession, usually one to two years in advance.

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Yield curves don't indicate recession in the near term: LF Economics

The Australian data is also accurate, it says. The quarterly 2-Y/10-Y public bond yield curve demonstrates the impending early 1980s recession, the near mid-1980s recession, the early 1990s recession and the GFC. It turns out there was plenty of warning for the GFC, with the yield curve turning negative in 2006Q2.

Click to enlarge

Yield curves don't indicate recession in the near term: LF Economics

 Click to enlarge

Yield curves don't indicate recession in the near term: LF Economics 

“Using the 90-Day bill/10-Y public bond yield allows for superior detection of future downturns in economic growth, including rises in the unemployment rate” says the research.

This yield curve picks up the small increases in the rate during the mid-1980s, 2001 and 2013/14, but these periods were not recessions. The mid-1970s recession is obvious, it says.

Click to enlarge

Yield curves don't indicate recession in the near term: LF Economics

Recently, a research paper by the RBA attempted to detect historical recessions while filtering out noise by employing standard econometric techniques. It concluded that “Because the coincident indices present a smoother perspective of the business cycle in the 1960s and 1970s, they identify fewer recessions in this period than does GDP. Over the past 45 years, the coincident indices locate three recessions – periods when there was a widespread downturn in economic activity; in 1974-1975, 1982-1983 and 1990-1991.”

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Recession Bond Yields

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