Deutsche Bank's chief international economist, Torsten Slok, spoke with CNBC on Monday about the correlation between freight rail waste data and broader economic activity. In general, waste carloads have been shown to have a high correlation to changes in GDP.
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This makes some intuitive sense, given that consumption, construction and other such activities generally create waste.
While peering deeply into trash may sound strange, "all joking aside, this is really an attempt to capture what is the economic activity when we measure it from a whole different angle than we normally do," Slok said.
He added that it generally confirms what economic data have shown, but "if anything, this also points to that there are some upside risks to the outlook from where we are at the moment."