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Meet the 'Moneyball economist'...

The WALL STREET JOURNAL labels him "the Moneyball Economist" writes Brian Maher in The Daily Reckoning.

The man's name is Andrew Zatlin.

Why the "Moneyball" economist? Answer shortly.

Meantime, Bloomberg heaps praise upon his economic forecasting.

That is because his crystal ball is remarkably and reliably clear.

He routinely runs his circles around crackerjacks from Goldman, Morgan Stanley and the rest of them.

And today we are mightily pleased to welcome him aboard our flagship.

For he has joined Jim Rickards' team of superexcellent economic analysts.

His contribution is unique...and invaluable.

In Jim's words:

"Up until now, I've been missing a direct connection in analyzing one of the most critical pieces of economic data.

"It's an indicator of the overall health of the economy as well as what is moving markets – payroll and jobs data.

"That's why over the past few months I've been looking to add an all-star analyst to my team that interprets this hard data which is crucial to understand in these volatile times.

"Someone that could give my readers an even greater advantage, with bold predictions and market opportunities that most investors miss.

"But as I'm sure you can imagine, finding an A+ economist and analyst isn't easy. To be sure, the best analysts are in high demand or keep a low profile as they like sharing their knowledge with only a select group of people.

"That's why today I'm so happy to announce that I've found an exception. And that's Andrew Zatlin."

Why is Mr.Zatlin "the Moneyball Economist"?

Moneyball refers to the data-plumbing method the Oakland Athletics employed to construct a superior roster – despite a penny-pinched payroll.

That is, the Oakland Athletics plowed miles deep into baseball identify the undervalued players who produced victories...though the league at large looked past them.

Their batting averages may have sagged, for example. Yet their on-base percentages outshined others – they took their walks.

And the statistics revealed that on-base percentage is a superior metric to batting average.

A man who is more frequently on base is a man who crosses home plate more often.

Thus his contribution to victory is superior.

And so the Oakland Athletics plucked out this type of fellow.

This Zatlin adopts the Moneyball model.

He looks past batting average.

His economic forecasting instead reduces to the data – and the data alone.

That is, he looks to on-base percentage...particularly in the unemployment data.

"My best ideas," says Andrew, "are based on the data coming from the jobs market."

What does the data from the jobs market presently indicate?

That the consumer is shedding steam. And that eateries – in particular – are in for a good whaling because of it.

Inflation is to blame:

"Nowadays McDonald's is a $50 expense for a family of four. It's a luxury now to go to McDonald's or Five Guys. It's crazy. The consumer is now stuck. They're not going out as much anymore.

"You're going to see retail figures come out next month that are going to show a deeper and deeper drop in outside dining and drinking. Until two months ago, you saw double-digit year-on-year growth in that sector.

"Now it's low single-digit growth. It's going to go negative pretty soon because consumers are throwing in the towel.

"We're seeing everything peak. At some point, something's got to give. And I think that's why the Fed is finally starting to say, Even though inflation is high, it's not meeting our targets, we're going to have to start cutting interest rates. They've got to give the consumer some form of relief."

Mr.Zatlin takes the overall view. Thus he trains his eagle eyes upon global supply chains and the economic indications they telegraph.

His biography reads thusly:

Andrew has nearly three decades of experience as an applied economist and big data enthusiast. Working in Silicon Valley with Fortune 50 companies at the birth of the new 21st-century global economy has given him unique insight.

Today's economy is based on the consumer's ever-growing reliance on the digital world, as well as a swiftly changing global supply chain. Andrew has been a part of this revolution since its inception which gives him an unparalleled level of experience. That perspective helps him to uncover and track the data that matters.

That can easily be seen in the accuracy of his predictions. Andrew connects the dots to paint a picture of emerging trends and economic shifts.

And now he is at your service.

You will learn from him – for example – that:

"It is now easy to spoof audio and video. There was a company that was recently extorted of $35 million because someone, through a phone call, was able to spoof the CEO's voice and direct a lower-level financial person to transfer $35 million into bank accounts."

Brave New World! More:

"An Israeli plane traveling from Thailand was almost directed off route toward some other country because the pilots were told with an audio spoof to go and change course in real-time."

What if some devil spoofs an American military airplane into China's airspace? What if China shoots missiles at it?

Now you have an international "incident" on your hands.

What if China wields the invisible power to knock down American infrastructure? Mr.Zatlin:

"It was found that 80% of the cranes used in our port facilities are Chinese-made. These are the cranes that load and unload shipping cargo. They discovered that embedded in these big cranes were communication devices.

"That's interesting, because that wasn't part of the original spec. Is it simply an efficient way to keep track of how many containers are going in and out? Maybe. But what if this is not just to send information but to receive information?

"Maybe you could inform the crane to malfunction, to stop working. Could you bring down our ports if that capability was in there? These are 80% of the cranes in our ports. Imagine all the equipment that's out there that's coming out of China. Nobody's tracking it.

"The fact is we've relied on so much equipment that is digitally connected to networks, and we know that hackers through the network can take control."

Relatedly: Mr.Zatlin is agnostic on the Francis Scott Key Bridge incident. He does not claim to know its cause.

Yet he does not heave the cyberattack theory out of court:

"How easy or hard is it to sit in your chair somewhere offshore and bring down our infrastructure? I would say it's pretty darn easy.

"Let's take the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. Nobody would ever weaponize a cargo ship through cyber hacking and drive it into a bridge and bring it down, crippling the port. That's crazy stuff you'd only see in a Tom Clancy story. Right? Well, how do you know?

"Could that have been a cyber attack? I'm not saying it was or wasn't. It could well have been just an accident. A lot of experienced shipping experts believe it was. But there's a lot going on in the cyber arena that you never hear about in the media."

Yet you will hear about it from Andrew Zatlin.

Thus with great satisfaction we place him in our locker today. He represents a superior addition to The Daily Reckoning.

Formerly an independent researcher and writer, Brian Maher is managing editor of The Daily Reckoning, the contrarian investment email launched in 1999 and now read by over half-a-million people worldwide each day.

Please Note: All articles published here are to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it. Please review our Terms & Conditions for accessing Gold News.

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