President Donald Trump tweets a lot about his trade war, the Federal Reserve, individual publicly traded companies. For investors and businesses, those tweets have consequences.
Now analysts at JPMorgan have created an index to track the impact of Trump’s tweets on US interest rates. Its name? The “Volfefe Index,” an apparent mashup of volatility and a certain “covfefe” tweet that launched a social media frenzy back in 2017.
The analysts found that Trump’s tweets have significantly increased volatility. They say the frequency of market-moving tweets from Trump “ballooned” in August, and that US rates markets are paying more attention. This drives the need for a model to spot market-moving tweets and track the results, they said.
“The subject of these tweets has increasingly turned toward market-moving topics, most prominently trade and monetary policy,” the analysts said. “And we find strong evidence that tweets have increasingly moved US rates markets immediately after publication.”
JPMorgan does not include any specific Trump tweets in its report introducing the index, but identifies a series of trigger words for markets. Those include “China,” “billion” and “products.”
The bank concedes that its model is “hardly a tweet savant” — but maintains that the results it produces are “firmly statistically significant.”