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Tags: wilbur ross | economy | strong | slowdown | media

Wilbur Ross: US Economy 'Really Strong,' Media Stoking Slowdown Fears


Tuesday, 04 December 2018 08:21 AM EST

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the U.S. economy is very strong but the mainstream media is blowing worries about a slowdown out of proportion.

"It's the press that seems more obsessed with what may lie in the future," Ross told CNBC.

"First of all the economy itself is really strong," Ross told CNBC. "You've seen the unemployment figures; you've seen the new claims; you've seen industrial production; you've seen executive confidence; you've seen consumer confidence. Those are all very, very high," he said.

Ross said instead of "speculating," the media should judge the Trump administration by what it does "not what they think may be some boogeyman hiding out in the future."

To be sure, the U.S. economy is expanding at a 2.8 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter, based on the latest economic data, the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow forecast model showed on Monday.

Monday's revision was higher than the 2.6 percent pace for fourth-quarter gross domestic product that the Atlanta Fed’s GDP program calculated on Thursday.

The Atlanta Fed revision came just hours after U.S. construction spending fell for a third straight month, government data showed on Monday, while private-sector figures showed an uptick in manufacturing order growth but offered a mixed view on overall factory activity.

The data come as many investors are watching for signs the Federal Reserve’s three-year tightening cycle could be coming to a close after an expected hike this month, which would be the fourth by the U.S. central bank this year, Reuters explained.

However, not everyone is as optimistic about the economy.

Slowing economic growth, shrinking central bank balance sheets and continued bouts of volatility will help make 2019 another poor year for risk-adjusted investment returns, with few obvious havens, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“Expect better but still low returns in 2019” for multi-asset global allocation portfolios, Goldman strategists including Christian Mueller-Glissman wrote in a note Monday, Bloomberg reported. While the decline in valuations across asset classes has improved the medium-term outlook, “we see a weaker expected macro backdrop in 2019 as likely to limit return potential,” they wrote.

The gloomy outlook matches the experience of what’s been a rough year for financial markets. Investors have been rattled by everything from monetary policy normalization to tariff threats to global trade, a slowdown in China and the prospect that corporate-earnings growth has peaked. In what some have called a regime change, bonds have also been poor hedges for equities, upending the classic 60-40 portfolio strategy.

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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: The US economy is very strong — the media is blowing worries about a slowdown out of proportion
wilbur ross, economy, strong, slowdown, media
Tuesday, 04 December 2018 08:21 AM
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