A few weeks ago The Economist invited readers to invent quirky economic indicators that might help to show where the economy is heading. (HT Maurice)

The chart shows that the number of gold-price searches shoots up when consumer confidence dives and subsides when households perk up again. Since the data is available earlier than conventional surveys of confidence, it is useful for spotting economic turning-points. Worryingly, the number of searches has recently vaulted above its 2008 peak, signalling the possibility of a double dip.


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