Thursday, February 2, 2017

Solar Activity and Economic Recessions | Mikhail Gorbanev

Mikhail Gorbanev (Dec 2016) - Out of 22 recessions in the US economy identified by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in 1901-2008, in the years corresponding to solar cycles numbered by astronomers from 14 to 23, eleven recessions began in two years around and after maximum points of those cycles. Moreover, out of 13 of those recessions that began in 1933-2008 (solar cycles 17 to 23), eight – over 60 percent – began in two years around and after solar maximums.

Out of 36 recessions in G7 countries identified by NBER and The Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) in 1965-2008 (solar cycles 20 to 23), 21 – nearly 60 percent – began in 3 years around and after solar maximums.

Since 1933, US economy spent 1/3 of time in recession in about 3 years after solar maximums.

Each of eight solar maximums in 1929-2008 overlapped closely with low points in the US unemployment rate followed by its sharp increase.

Refugee inflows in the EU countries followed solar cycle pattern in 1985-2015. 

Economic conditions in the U.S. and G7 countries deteriorated in 2015-2016, consistent with the historical pattern. Composite Leading Indicators (CLIs) designed by the OECD to give early signals of turning points in the business cycle deteriorated for the U.S., for the G7 countries, and for the entire OECD. 

But no U.S. recession? A pattern observed for over 100 years suggested elevated chances of U.S. recession starting in 2014-15, which did not happen.

And no reversal in the U.S. unemployment trend? The historical pattern pointed to possibility that the declining trend in the U.S. unemployment rate would bottom out and reverse in 2014-15, which did not occur. 

In both cases, U.S. Fed’s highly accommodative monetary policy targeted at supporting economic recovery and boosting employment can explain the deviation from the historical pattern. Never before the U.S. Federal Funds rate remained virtually zero for so long even as the economy expanded and unemployment rate declined to its lowest level in many years. 

CLI indices for all G7 countries and the US generally reached their maximums before solar maximums and declined to their troughs in years after it.

For the entire OECD, the concordance between the CLI index and solar cycle looked even more regular. In 1962‐2012, all five solar maximums overlapped with dips in the CLI index, and the index reached its maximum values shortly before the sunspot maximums. When comparing the OECD CLI values across solar cycles, we discovered that standard deviations of the values for these cycles confirmed statistical significance of the indicator’s spike before and trough after the solar maximum. The EURO area CLI index followed broadly the same pattern, thus confirming the link with the solar cycle even when the US economy was excluded. 

Moreover, the dynamic of the CLI indices was broadly consistent among the largest OECD economies. We observed that in Japan, Germany, France, and UK, the CLI indices reached their maximums shortly before or around the solar maximum, and declined to the troughs in the years after it. The exact months of maximums and minimums varied between countries. Apparently, the statistical significance also varied, from the lowest for Japan and highest for Germany and France. 

The most important European revolutions of the XIX and XX century overlapped closely with the sunspot maximums. Remarkably, both the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 in the Russian Empire and the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991, which could be considered the two most important revolutions of the XX century, both occurred exactly in the years of solar maximums. In France, all the greatest revolutions of the modern times including the Great French Revolution of 1789, the revolutions of 1830 and 1849, and “Paris Commune” in 1871 overlapped very closely with the solar maximums. In America, the secession of the 13 southern US states in 1861 that triggered the bloodiest civil war in the continent’s history occurred in the year of solar maximum. Most recently, the cyclical increase in the solar activity in the currently unfolding 24th solar cycle overlapped closely with the “Arab Spring”, a series of revolutions in the Arab countries in 2010-13, and with revolution in Ukraine in 2013-14.