UPDATE: The Mystery Of Why S&P Data Will Disappear From The World's Best Economics Website Deepens

This post first ran on March 25, see below for updates.

Stop the presses.

The St. Louis Fed Reserve just put out a release saying on April 25, all series from “S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC will be removed from FRED, ALFRED, and GeoFRED.”

Here’s what we’ll be missing out on.

  1. Four series of Dow Jones Averages.
  2. One-hundred-seventy-nine series of S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.
  3. The S&P 500 stock price index.

“These series will also no longer be available through the Excel Add-in, mobile apps, and API or any other FRED services we provide. Links to these series or graphs that contain these series may be broken or return unexpected results,” according to the press release.

“For some time now the St. Louis Fed has been publishing historical data without licence from us,” Dave Guarino, head of communications at S&P Dow Jones Indices told Business Insider.

So what went wrong?

Guarino said they had “negotiated back and forth for some time” with the St. Louis Fed, and that S&P Dow Jones Indices considers the data to be their intellectual property right which was being published without their permission.

Guarino says they last reached out to the St. Louis Fed sometime at the end of February and asked them to finalise the agreement in 60 days.

Update 1: A spokesperson at the St. Louid Fed told us in an emailed statement that “The St. Louis Fed does have licenses and permissions with S&P to post its data currently available on FRED.”

Update 2: We followed up with Dave Guarino at S&P Dow Jones Indices. He told us the St. Louis Fed only has a licence since 2003 to publish a weekly performance chart on the S&P 500. He said FRED continues to publish and make available for export data on historical S&P 500 index values going back to the 1950s, and data on the Case-Shiller indices. He said the two parties are still negotiating the use of the data.

We at Business Insider, and other bloggers who rely on FRED for their charts are bummed about it. FRED is arguably the best economics website largely because it pulls in over a 140,000 data series and then lets you chart them as you like.

We’re waiting to hear back from the St. Louis Fed.

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