ABC Consumer Comfort Index Plunges To Year Lows On Surging Gas Prices

Tyler Durden's picture

Once again the ABC Consumer Comfort index indicates that it is leaps and bounds more relevant than the ADP Private Payroll number. With increasingly less relevant confidence indicators out of UMichigan and the Conference Board, which lately only seem to "poll" 20 people with a $1MM+ Schwab trading account, it is worth noting what a true polling index says about the economy. And it isn't pretty: "Soaring gasoline prices slammed consumer sentiment into reverse this
week, threatening the slow recovery in economic views that’s been under
way. With gas now at record high for a February in Energy Department data
back to 1990, the weekly Consumer Comfort Index dropped by an unusually
steep 5 points to -46 on its scale of -100 to +100.
It’s dropped that
far only 36 times in more than 1,300 weeks of ongoing polling since late
1985; this shift erases an equally unusual 5-point gain in early
January...After reaching -40 Jan. 9, the CCI is now at its low for the year, and
its lowest since Nov. 21.
It averaged -46 in 2010 and -48 in 2009; those
compare with a lifetime average of -14 and a best-year +29 in 2000. Its
single best week was +38 in January 2000; its worst, -54 in December
2008 and again in January 2009." So strange: unlike with stocks, where inflation is somehow supposed to raise confidence, inflation for the people somehow leads to a near record plunge in confidence. But who are we to believe in this centrally planned economy when every single data point is now fit to be discarded as nothing more than evidence of propaganda.

Charting the CCI:

And some more from ABC:

It’s likely no coincidence that the change in sentiment follows the federal government’s report yesterday that gas has jumped to an average $3.13 a gallon, up steadily from $2.74 six months ago, $2.65 a year ago and $1.89 two years ago this month.

The portent is not a good one. Gas prices tend to drop in winter, when demand is down, and rise in summer, when more Americans hit the road. Gas last approached this wintertime level in February 2008 – on its way to a record high of $4.11 the following July.

A repeat could be devastating to consumer sentiment.

We hope the Economy Ph.D.s from the "other two" indices read the following paragraph, as they seem to still be completely clueless about how the economy actually works:

Although the CCI and gas prices don’t always move in tandem, they’ve correlated significantly, at -.46, since 1990 (after detrending for time) – meaning that as gas prices go up, confidence tends to decline. And that relationship strengthens when fuel prices are rising: From February 2007 to July 2008, as gas soared from $2.19 to $4.11, the CCI tanked from  -1 to –41; the two correlated at a remarkable -.84.

That relationship suggests that confidence would be in a better place now were gas prices not rising – with this week’s CCI a warning siren for the slow, tentative recovery of late.

The following explains the Index' methodology:

The index, produced by Langer Research Associates, is based on Americans’ ratings of their personal finances, the buying climate and the national economy. Positive ratings of the buying climate and the economy took 3-point hits this week; 43 percent rate their finances positively and 25 percent call it a good time to buy, compared with long-term averages of 56 and 37 percent, respectively. Just 13 percent rate the national economy positively, 24 points below its average.

Among groups, the index dropped most sharply this week among singles, young adults – and among the wealthiest Americans, sliding into the negative zone in this customarily more positive group. They may be regretting those gas-guzzling SUVs.

Full report and associated data.


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mynhair's picture

Snow, bitchez!

whatsinaname's picture

But credit cards abound. Not to worry.

Credit debt made a surprising rebound indicating a strong recovery taking place. Its all good.

Hephasteus's picture

Are those credit cards issued by lying ass banks?

mynhair's picture

No, just snow bound lying ass banks.

Shed Boy's picture

 "hundreds of thousands of customers signed up for a card that charges interest rates of up to 59.9% almost 700,000 Americans have signed up for the card. "


Party on!

Hacksaw's picture

The interest rate doesn't matter when you don't intend to pay.

lbrecken's picture

YAWN chart looks pretty good to me LT uptrend

unwashedmass's picture


ben's gonna get a really big surprise when gas hits $3.5 and a good portion of the peasantry can't afford to get to work.

you know, those unruly masses who don't have stock portfolios and don't know that times are really "good" now?

Logans_Run's picture

Ah, they don't need to go to work anyway because of the snow! Economic recovery Baby!

topcallingtroll's picture

Is that like some kinda cati-cornered crotch? Nice!

NOTW777's picture

oil drops from 93 to 86 and gas prices increase

SashaBelov's picture

Ever heard about contango:


Or about crazy wti/brent spread:



And we dont know how high is premium for physical wti. And also we dont know how much of demand is at all met with wti supply.

FunkyMonkeyBoy's picture

It's called profiteering. And the oil companies play that game best.

downwiththebanks's picture

Better than the banker-gangsters?

Or the politicians who sell their votes to the aforementioned B-Gs?

mynhair's picture

Better than GE?  3.5% tax paid, and light bulbs that don't work.

I think I need to buy a gun's picture

its all in the currency you know dennis gartman who I don't trust made a comment a few months back, oil will "never" hit 100 dollars a barrel. That doesn't mean we can't have 10 dollar gas if the currency is confetti or oil is referenced in trade by gold.

So the dollar system snapped in 08....I still feel something is coming all at once on the gold front. that tbt is breaking out so we won't be able to afford that debt service soon.

Fuckin JP Morgan comes out and they are accepting physical gold? The end of the current system must be near.



QQQBall's picture

Ask Garterman about his asshat "Cu will never see $4 again in my lifetime."

Sophist Economicus's picture

Tell'em to stop whinning and go out and buy 100 shares of NFLX

Idiot Savant's picture

Or a high MPG vehicle. It's not like high fuel prices are a surprise. If you're still driving a low MPG vehicle, just 'cause, you deserve to suffer.


cossack55's picture

C'mon, IS, how about a little compassion (but none of that compassionate fuckin conservative shit).  Some folks can only afford that beatup old V8 piece of Detroit shit.  High mpg 4-bangers pull premium prices.  You want some suffering for some desrving fucks, how about bankers/politicians.  I could watch those mealy-mouthed motherfuckers suffer for days.

Dr. Porkchop's picture

You don't have to buy a high tech vehicle to get good mileage. My old '89 carberated Corolla was amazing on gas. It was gutless as hell, but easy on the wallet. My Altima is also a 4-banger, but is much larger, more horsepower and is not as good on gas as my old Corolla was, but for its size and performance, it's OK. However, you can make your gas consumption better by going easy on the gas pedal. There is no prize for being first one to the next red light down the road. You can also drive less, but for some that's not really possible.

Also, stay out of drive thru lanes. When you're sitting in a drive thru, you're getting exactly 0 mpg.

downwiththebanks's picture

Seems pretty smart to drop $25k to save 4 MPGs on a car that loses half its value in about 4 seconds.

mynhair's picture

Better to do that than buy a '72 450 SL that loses it fuel system, thanks to pukenol.

crosey's picture

In the Ivy League intellectual circle, do they teach you what to do when the shit really hits the fan, and you're vastly outnumbered?

StychoKiller's picture

I hear Rebok makes some good running shoes... :>D

FunkyMonkeyBoy's picture

Ignored by the futures and will be ignored tomorrow also.

Bad is good and good is good.

Don't play this rotten game, stick to silver and gold, they are the only truth in this huge pile of corrupt dung.

Hedge Hunter's picture

My comfort index would go up if someone gave me a benectomy and pulled some of this inflated crap out of my arse.

Pumpanddump's picture

Give me a... P!....give me an...O!...give me a...M!...give me an...O

What's that spell???



Scout6909's picture

A reality based

Will Dow 14,000 move the index back to "-14" or better?

Trillions upon Trillions and we have a -48? WTF? Where are the seasonal adjustments? Goldman needs to buy Langer Research and "modify" this report.  An adjustment here and there and voila, "+29"

What would this number be IF we didn't have any QE? (I doubt it would be much lower)


whatsinaname's picture

Must be the snow. Come on folks. Cheer up..

Tense INDIAN's picture

MORE CHARTS>>>>>>>>>>>>>FRACTAL POWER anyone????

John McCloy's picture


Wait till Ben launches us into outerspace with QE3. Were going to see 120 oil and $3.00 Hostess cupcakes and I would love to see World Emperor Bernanke explain to the world and not just America how we get to use monetary policy as a weapon of war. 

   It is akin to having the only H-Bomb in the world monetarily solely because we have the reserve currency. And this means we can level the quality of life of every other nation who pays closer to 75% of their wages for food as opposed to our 8%. This is what causes wars.

  What disgusts me is that Bernanke engages these policies out of vanity. He seeks only to have hundreds of books and textbooks written about his policies for the next hundred years..And here we are..a nerd with perfect SAT scores which is not such a rare feat...who has never cultivated a home grown business believing that reading the lies of text books created by those aligned with the corporates and corrupt being book smart and not street smart. 

  He does not have the capacity to consider history and all that it has taught us and the human reaction. 6 years from now he will be sitting on boards as an advisor receiving millions annually for his ability that is only insider information for how best to position one's self for the next Fed spending spree and the names in his Rolodex who can provide dates and times.

  He is a criminal.

RobotTrader's picture

Crude pretty much crashed out the last few days, it has been trading like a yo yo.

Gas prices will probably go back down soon.

John McCloy's picture

Dow & S&P new recent highs

Crude tamed

PM's tamed

All what you would expect from a manipulated market and central planning and one which discourages prudence and rewards blind eyed risk. Cannot have a Dow @ 12,300 with 35.00 silver and 105.00 oil.

Population Bubble's picture

Sure you can, when you're printing money!

Pop that bubble!

John McCloy's picture

That is my point. When everything appears rigged against you and all correlations evaporate it is engineered. 

lieutenantjohnchard's picture

again, what a crock. it was but yesterday, less than 24 hours ago, you were calling for much higher oil (and by proxy gasoline) and gold.

topcallingtroll's picture

Well....old topcall called that one right. Within a dollar from the top on uso. My energy stocks? Seems i.sold a bit early. They kept running. What gives? Im hanging on to psdv a while longer. Hopefully a nice relief rally.when the earnings call is as bad as expected, no worse!. So where is a potential easy pop now robo? Greenlighter? You can recycle boobie pictures robo. They were all good. No need to.always find something new.

mynhair's picture

Grab some AVL while you can afford it.  Breakout accomplished.

topcallingtroll's picture

Thanks i will look at it. Take a look at a brief pop in ung, but i am agraid we might see 530 540 so play at your own risk and dont.get greedy or hold too long if you do.

mynhair's picture

Maybe if ODummer raises more taxes, the comfort index will improve - through suicide of respondents.

Pee Wee's picture

Just close your eyes and tap your heels together two times -- a fraud bailout support ticket is created for any mistakes.

Also, while your eyes are closed any rising prices on something you need don't count.

10kby2k's picture


Could the FED be manipulating WTI because 87 sounds and is a lot better than 100?

And 3.25/gallon is better than 3.75?

10kby2k's picture


I'm watching Cramer. He is making sense. Call the rubber ambulance!!!!!!!

topcallingtroll's picture

I hear ya. Cramer has a few good calls.

economists_do_it_with_models's picture

GREAT post!

Intra-day, $VIX made a new 3yr low today.  Pretty darn ironic considering everything that's going on in the world (Egypt, unemployment, food stamps.....snow - lol)

traderjoe's picture

Not much volatility in manipulated markets...

greenfire's picture

Don't worry it's not "peak" oil.  It's just an "undulating plateau."

That Peak Oil Guy's picture

An undulating plateau with higher costs and greater competition for the resource.  I'm not worried one bit.


Rainman's picture

yes, credit card payments are due from the Christmas junkbuying bender. Mrs. Rainman's comfort index has plunged too.