In each of the years 1995, 1996, 1998, and 1999, variable X grew by 20% year-on-year. But in 1997, X fell by 50%. What might explain this counter-trend fall in 1997?

What might be a better word in place of "counter-trend" here? Googling "counter-trend", it seems like this is somewhat commonly used in investment, but I have not come across it anywhere else. Yet I cannot think of a better word to use in the above context.


The 1997 results are an anomaly, so you could render the last sentence as:

What might explain this anomalous fall in 1997?

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I would recommend the idiom bucking the trend in the context described.

bucking the trend - to be obviously different from the way that a situation is developing generally, especially in connection with financial matters.

Another word that is commonly applied is deviation:

To take a different course, or have a different tendency; to diverge or differ (from a standard, etc.) (OED).

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In this context "reverse" might capture your meaning better than counter-trend. You are describing a reversal of a trend, not a sub-trend that is going opposite to a simultaneous primary trend.

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  • Yes, as George suggests, the growth from 1995-199 is a trend, what happened in 1997 only happened once, so it is not yet a trend. You could say that the "upward trend was interrupted in 1997" – Vidro3 Dec 5 '13 at 21:31

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