With Bitcoin and broader cryptos seemingly in a near-term bear market following an epic crash that wiped 50% or more off of most cryptocurrencies since December of 2017, it appears that spending for popular party vices is down significantly.
According to a new report from ZeroHedge.com, the Vice Index, which tracks spending on gambling, alcohol, drugs, and prostitution, tumbled to its lowest pace since 2012.
When it comes to the US economy, there is overall consumer spending, and then there is spending on vices – a true leading indicator of overall consumer confidence and discretionary spending as Americans generally won’t splurge on hookers, blackjack and blow until they are absolutely positive they won’t need the cash for something else. Conveniently SouthBay Research has a “Vice Index” that that tracks spending on gambling, alcohol, drugs, and prostitution. And as of February, the vice index just tumbled, suggesting that after a brief burst in late 2017 and 2018, the consumer-driven economy is again in trouble.
As noted on the chart below, the drop has been huge:
And makes one wonder whether this had anything to do with it:
One thing’s for sure: Until Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general start to see price recovery trending back to previous highs, it’s likely that Lambo purchases across the world will be temporarily delayed.
But there may be a way for savvy investors to use the Vice Index to their advantage, according to Zero Hedge:
Perhaps the spending rebound will take place as expected… but first have a chat with your friendly, neighborhood drug dealer: when it comes to spending trends and inflection points in the US, he just may have the most valuable information.