Economic forecaster Lakshman Achuthan is seeing signs of a global growth comeback in an under-the-radar trend.
He’s finding industrial commodity prices are starting to firm up and about to turn positive — a signal that demand is returning.
“It’s less negative. It’s not even positive inflation yet. But the vector here is everything, especially in the context of the global industrial growth upturn,” the Economic Cycle Research Institute co-founder told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Wednesday.
He’s building his case on a chart of commodity price inflation. It tracks industrial materials including oil, steel, iron, nickel, textiles and some building supplies.
“You see that long suffering of the decline in global industrial commodity inflation over the last couple of years,” said Achuthan. “That’s come to a close. That’s kind of a game changer if you’re a global industrial company.”
He began noticing sluggishness in commodity industrial prices in the first half of last year.
Now, he’s close to calling a rebound not only in the global economy, but in the United States, too.
According to Achuthan, a U.S. manufacturing comeback could be as little as a month or two away following five straight months of contraction.
“In fairly short order, those things are going to start to bottom out,” he added.
On a bigger scale, Achuthan’s call also signals he’s turning more positive overall. He has been in the global economic slowdown camp since June 2018.
However, the turnaround may come with an unwelcome side effect. Achuthan warns that consumer spending, which he believes is decelerating, could face more pressure.
“If we stick with commodity price inflation for a second, for consumers the main one is going to be energy,” Achuthan said. “That is on the margin a negative and is going to crimp discretionary spending.”