Monday, January 18, 2010

What Google says about inflation (GOOG)

From FT Alphaville:

Alternative research shop Variant Perception is always good for an exciting nugget of eco-data.

In their latest monthly report their focus — as always — tips towards the inflationary view of things. One indicator they cite to lend support to that view being statistics stemming from Google Trends.

Now, if you think Google Trends is far too whimsical a data set, VP reminds that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) already use Google to accurately estimate influenza-like illness percentages in each of the nine public health regions of the United States in real-time.

So what does Google tell VP?

According to the analysts, they’ve noticed a strong up-tick in searches for food inflation after a year of relative calm. Note the following chart:

Further still, and perhaps unsurprisingly say Variant, most searches are coming from emerging markets where food is a big component in consumer price indices....MORE