Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chart: "500 Year CRB Index (Annual)"

I can't speak for the scholarship that went into this but just eyeballing, it seems okay with a couple exceptions.
We have wheat and hog stats that go back to the 1300's, this stuff is something that fascinates me.
From The Big Picture:

I love the mere concept of this chart from Jim Bianco — the CRB Index going all the back to the year 1,450:

courtesy of Bianco Research


About now, you may be saying to yourself, “How on earth could anyone find this ancient data — and can it possibly be accurate?”

The answers might surprise you:

The chart uses the following series (plotted monthly):

• 1749 to date: The Wholesale Price Index (now called the Producer Price Index) as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

• 1749 to 1861: Statistical Tables of Commodity Prices from: Wholesale Commodity Prices in the
United States, 1700 to 1861, by Arthur Harrison Cole (Harvard University Press, 1938)

• 1749 to 1932: The Warren And Pearson Index of Commodity prices in New York, by George F. Warren and Frank A. Pearson (Wiley, 1933)

• 1782 to 1820: Jeavons Index compiled in 1865...MORE

An internal link in our 2008 post "Grain Reserves at 30 Year Lows":
Here's the ten second tutorial on Ag cycles:

The Hog Cycle

No not Harley-Davidson, although I imagine some econ grad student has written the paper.
Wheat and hogs are two commodities with long price series. We mentioned the hog cycle back in January:

The hog price series is one of the longest we have records for, back to the 1200's. The cycle is:
slaughter begets scarcity begets higher prices begets breeding begets over-supply begets slaughter. It's been going on for a while.

Today Professor Mankiw tips us to a government subsidized variation...