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Thursday, October 21, 2004 | 0 comments »

It's a slow day in Bearland...

There's a scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where pursuers corner the pair on the edge of a cliff. Frantic, Butch says the only escape is to jump into the raging torrent 50+ metres below them. The Kid tells him he doesn't know how to swim. Butch, flabbergasted, replies

"Are you crazy?! The fall'll probably kill ya!"

Is this story relevant for forecasting? Can the Red Sox come back from 3-0 down? Is the West Indies about to become a test match cricket leviathan again? I don't/didn't/still don't know. It's just a great film moment and I've been waiting for an opportunity to mention it. But I do recall that Butch and Sundance made it alive out of that fix despite their pessimism.

The point is that I've felt bad since I wrote that piece on Wachovia's forecasting. I sniped and I want to do pennance and Feel The Pain every forecaster knows about. So I've built two models of extreme complication and plan to sell their output to all and sundry. If you're interested you'll need to be quick - I've already had the marketing departments of several investment banks on the phone. By the way, I also have a number of early 1990's computer hardware components on offer too.

Without further ado, I forecast that:

* on Tuesday 9 November West Texas light sweet crude (surprisingly refreshing both neat and with a chaser) will hit $60. It's at $54.92 now. Having noted the average fuel consumption of my Honda at idle; my recent electricity bills; how long the neighbours keep their lights on across the valley here; as well as numerous other things (sorry, I mean "variable factors") such as the impact of lint on the consumption rate of the cooling fan inside my pc, I am able to publish this astounding to-be fact with a high degree of statistical and personal confidence.

* And that's not all. I further forecast that on Monday 22 November the sterling/USD rate will breach the $1.85 level from the $1.8281 it's on as I type this. This is based on a revolutionary piece of econometric insight that accounts for the rate at which London tourists are increasingly ripped off by cambio booths. It includes a formula to establish a "leakage rate" calculated as the absence (in hourly terms of course, man) from the money supply of those coins used to operate the chemical toilets across the nation's capital.

Please don't abuse the comments option with expressions of admiration. Rather, I am interested in your own amazing economic forecasts. Special consideration will be made for the inclusion of estimates regarding the length of time Senator John Edwards is able to maintain his full smile at one sitting. But you must, I'm afraid, show full algebraic logic for admission into this category.

Prizes are forecast.

Yes, this is a serious post.

Have a nice day.

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