9 Top Economic Indicators for Hipsters

September 19, 2012 5:10 am 0 comments Views:

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Every day, we dutifully report economic indicators that have over the years become consensus proxies for the health of the economy. But sometimes we think to ourselves that certain data has gotten a bit…lame. How  many times can you get excited following the durable goods report?In that vein, we’ve picked out the economic indicators that are alternative, obscure and cool, and which can help you get a read on the economy in a way that most people don’t know about.These are data that you should look to when more mainstream data has grown stale.


Lear Sales

Lear Sales

Source: Lear

What is it: Quarterly revenue for private plane manufacturer Lear Corp.

What makes it hipster: Unlike data on manufacturing of other transport goods, private plane sales captures how comfortable mega-firms are feeling — and the lengths to which they’re telling their competitors that they can live like kings.

Fronterra Dairy Index

Fronterra Dairy Index

Source: Fronterra

What is it: Fonterra is owned by about 10,500 farmers but controls nearly one third of the world’s dairy exports. The index generating more than 7 percent of New Zealand’s gross domestic product.

 of dairy products including milk fat, cheddar and lactose.

What makes it hipster: Dairy is a strong proxy for a country’s development: coffee cream, processed cheese, cereal topping and even pet food are all trappings of the middle class.

Suez Canal data

Suez Canal data

Suez Authority

What is it: Quaterly toll revenue from Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority.

What makes it hipster: We are so over the Baltic Dry Index. Instead, we think traffic through the Suez — one of the world’s most important chokepoints for transferring goods — can tell us a lot more about the state of global shipping, and by proxy the state of global consumption demand.

Palm Oil prices

Palm Oil prices

What is it: Daily price movements for the cooking product, derived from the oil palm.

What makes it hipster: Palm oil is a common cooking ingredient in the developing world. So if prices are up, tropical Africa, southeast Asia and Brazil are in good shape. If prices are down, growth is slowing…

Opium Prices

Opium Prices


What is it: The UN issues regular reports on the price of Afghanistan poppy.

What makes it hipster: Unfortunately, there will always be demand for opium. But like any other commodity, producers must be able to market their goods. So if incomes worldwide are falling, drug prices must too.

Caterpillar Machinery Sales

Caterpillar Machinery Sales


What is it: Quarterly sales data from the machine production giant.

What makes it hipster: These guys power construction around the world. If orders for bulldozers and other earth movers are up, growth can’t be far behind.

AutoLivs Revenue Performance

What is it: Swedish firm Autoliv makes car safety equipment

What makes it hipster: What would that indicate? Well, the value of safety systems in large-sized cars is often more than twice as high as in compacts, according to the company. So if drivers are downsizing or shifting to smaller and more efficient vehicles, AutoLiv revenues are going to decline.

FedEx Air Traffic Revenue

FedEx Air Traffic Revenue


What is it: Postal carrier data from the worldwide leader.

What makes it hipster: Forget ISM data – FedEx revenue data remains the ultimate bellwether for the state of the global economy.

Helicopter flights between Hong Kong and Macau

Helicopter flights between Hong Kong and Macau


What is it: Monthly travel data from CEIC (chart shown is yearly).

What makes it hipster: Chinese GDP is one thing, but you’ll know for sure if a slowdown is imminent when mainland business titans stop jetting off to Macau for the weekend.

By Rob Wile, from: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-hippest-economic-indicators-2012-9?op=1#ixzz25dUUjJsr

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