# The Business Cycle And the Future

By Martin A. Armstrong Princeton Economic Institute © Copyright September 26, 1999

For many years, I have pursued a field of study that is at best non-traditional. My discovery of a global business cycle during the early 1970's was by no means intentional. As a youth growing up in the 1960's, the atmosphere was anything but stable. I don’t really know if it was Hollywood that captivated my interest in history with an endless series of movies about Roman and Greek history, but whatever it was that drove me, I can only attest to what resulted. My father had always wanted to return to Europe after serving under General Patton during the war. My mother insisted that she would go only when he could afford to take the whole family. That day finally came and something inside me insisted upon being able to earn my own spending money. I applied for a job despite my age of only 14. It wasn’t much, but on weekends I worked with a coin/bullion dealer. In those days, gold was illegal to buy or sell in bullion form so the industry centered on gold coins issued by Mexico, Hungary and Austria. I soon became familiar with the financial markets as they were starting to emerge. It was this experience that began to conflict with the formal training of school. One day in a history class, the teacher brought in an old black and white film entitled "Toast of the Town." This film was about Jim Fisk and his attempt to corner the gold market in 1869 that created a major financial panic in which the term "Black Friday" was first coined. In the film was a very young support

The Mystery of 8.6

At first, 8.6 seemed to be a rather odd number that just didn’t fit mathematically. In trying to test the validity of October 19th, 1987 being precise or coincidence, I stumbled upon something I never expected. This is the first time I will reveal something that I discovered and kept secret for the last 13 years. The total number of days within an 8.6-year business cycle was 3141. In reality, the 8.6-year cycle was equal to p (Pi) * 1000. Suddenly, there was clearly more at work than mere coincidence. Through extending my studies into physics, it became obvious that randomness was not a possibility. The number of variables involved in projecting the future course of the business cycle was massive, but not completely impossible given sufficient computer power and a truly comprehensive database. The relationship of 8.6 to p (Pi) confirmed that indeed the business cycle was in fact a perfect natural cyclical phenomenon that warranted further investigation. Indeed, the precision to a day appeared numerous times around the world in different markets. Both the 1994.25 and the 1998.55 turning points also produced clear events precisely to the day. The probability of coincidence of so many targets being that precise to the day was well into the billions. Indeed, the relationship of p to the business cycle demonstrated the existence of a perfect cycle that returned to its point of origin where once again it would start anew. The complexity that arose was that while the cycle could be measured and predicted, precisely which sector of the global economy would become the focal point emerged as the new research challenge. It was also clear that the driving forces behind the business cycle had shifted and intensified due to the introduction of the floating exchange rate system back in 1971. My study into intensity and volatility revealed that whenever the value of money became uncertain, inflation would rise dramatically as money ceased to be a store of wealth. Numerous periods of debasements and floating exchange rate systems had taken place throughout recorded history. The data available from Rome itself was a spectacular resource for determining hard rules as to how capital responded to standard economic events of debasement and inflation. The concept of Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand was valid, but even on a much grander scale involving capital flow movement between competing economies. The overall intensity of the cycle was decisively enhanced creating greater waves as measured by amplitude by the floating exchange system. As currency values began to swing by 40% in 4-year intervals, the cycle intensified even further causing currency swings of 40% within 2-year intervals and finally down to a matter of months following the July 20th, 1998 turning point.

The Domino Effect
The events that followed 1987 were all too easy to foresee. The G5 talked the dollar down by 40% between 1985 and 1987 essentially telling foreign capital to get out. The Japanese obliged and their own capital contraction led to the next bubble top at the peak of the 8.6-year cycle that was now due 1989.95. As the Japanese took their money home for investment, the value of their currency rose as did their assets thereby attracting global investment as well. Everyone was there in Tokyo in late 1989. Just about every investment fund manager globally was touting the virtues of Japan. As the Japanese bubble peaked, capital had acquired a taste for foreign investment. That now savvy pool of international investment capital turned with an eye towards South East Asia. Right on cue, the capital shifted moving into South East Asia for the duration of the next half-cycle of 4.3 years until it too reached its point of maximum intensity going into 1994.25. At this point, international capital began to shift again turning back to the United States and Europe, thus causing the beginning of a new bull market in a similar manner to what had happened in Japan. In fact, 1994.25 was once again the precise day of the low on the S&P 500 for that year. As American and European investment returned home, the steady outflow of capital from South East Asia finally led to the Asian Crisis in 1997. In both cases, Japan and South East Asia blamed outsiders and sought to impose punitive measures to artificially support their markets. In Japan, these interventions have left the Postal Savings Fund insolvent as public money was used to support the JGB market. Financial institutions were encouraged to hide their losses and even employees from the Minister of Finance were installed in some cases engaging in loss postponing transactions of every kind. Major life companies were told not to hedge their risks for fear that this would make the markets decline even further. Thus, the demise of Japan that would have been complete by 1994

was extended by government intervention that has most likely resulted in a lengthening of the business cycle decline into 2002.85. The next peak on the 8.6-year business cycle came in at 1998.55, which was precisely July 20th, 1998. While the intensity was defined rather well by the model’s forecast of 6,000 on the Dow by the quarter-cycle target of 1996.4 followed by 10,000 for 1998, the development of highly leveraged hedge funds created a trap that was not fully anticipated. It was clear that the European markets had captured the greatest intensity between 1996 and 1998 and that Russia too had reached our target for maximum intensity. However, the excessive leveraging of funds like Long-Term Capital Management had significantly created the peak in volume as well. Thus, the spread trades were so excessive, that the collapse that was to be expected, took on a virus type of affect. As Russia moved into default, and LTCM moved into default, the degree of leverage caused a cascade of liquidation that was spread around the world. Everything became affected causing the collapse in liquidity and credit to further undermine the global economy as a whole. Despite the new highs in US indices into 1999, the broader market has failed to keep pace and the peak in both liquidity and volume remains clearly that of 1998.55.

The Future
While this business cycle can be calculated on quarter-cycle intervals of 2.15 years into the final peak for this major wave formation of December 24th, 2032. Though this is long beyond my life expectancy, there is so much more behind the true understanding of the driving forces within the business cycle. I have learned that it is easy to claim coincidence and ignore the telltale signs of a hidden order. It is easy to argue that there is no basis for such a model without ever making an effort to test results. If everyone stopped with such criticism, most of ancient Greece would still be buried and Homer would still be considered a book for children. Man would not fly or travel to the moon. A cure for cancer would not be sought and progress would simply not exist. But furthering our understanding is part of humanity. Like law, that when strictly enforced deprives society of justice when circumstances are ignored, it is also the sin of ignorance toward new concepts that deprives mankind of progress and ultimately our posterity.

The Economic Confidence Model in 2.15-year intervals 1998.55... 07/20/98 2000.7.... 09/13/00 2002.85... 11/08/02 2005.... 01/02/05 2007.15... 02/27/07 2009.3... 04/23/09 2011.45... 06/18/11 2013.6... 08/12/13 2015.75... 10/07/15

2017.9... 12/01/17 2020.05... 01/26/20 2022.2... 03/22/22 2024.35... 05/16/24 2026.5... 07/11/26 2028.65... 09/04/28 2030.8... 10/30/30 2032.95... 12/24/32