Tags: Byron Wien | predictions | 2016 | economy

Byron Wien: Why I'm Not Optimistic for 2016

Byron Wien: Why I'm Not Optimistic for 2016
(Dollar Photo Club)

By    |   Thursday, 28 January 2016 07:00 AM

Byron Wien, vice chairman of the advisory services unit at Blackstone Group LP, is pessimistic now than he was only a few weeks ago.

“I generally think of myself as an optimist, but some concepts that I have been brooding about for a while seem to be converging,” he wrote for Barron’s.

“I have been worrying about the impact of China’s slowdown on the rest of the world, the ramifications of the refugee crisis on the stability of Europe, the peaking of profit margins in the United States, the surfeit of goods around the world coupled with insufficient demand, the dependence of developed economies on central bank monetary easing for growth, the accumulation of public and private debt, income inequality and terrorism,” he wrote.

Highlighting some of the gloomy lowlights he expects for the year:
  • “I do not anticipate a bear market (down 20% or more), but something short of that,” he wrote.
  • “I believe that earnings will be pressured by a combination of limited pricing power and increasing wages and that profit margins, near an all-time high now, will be lower. While the price-earnings ratio of the index is not excessive, disappointing earnings will be the key factor driving the decline,” he wrote.
  • “The disturbing geopolitical uncertainties around the world also have an influence on multiple contraction. Investors have a feeling of apprehension about the dangers of terrorism, oil price softness, emerging market recessions, the refugee crisis and armed conflicts in the Middle East, Africa or possibly elsewhere. As a result, they are likely to maintain higher than usual cash balances.”
  • "While the consensus for economic growth in the U.S. is that real GDP will increase 2.0% to 2.5% in 2016, the trajectory that I see developing would make a rate below 2% more likely."
  • If energy capital spending stays low and housing does not surge, growth could be disappointing. If the economic weakness that I suspect actually develops, we may find the Federal Reserve actively considers reducing rates later in the year rather than raising them.
  • "I expect growth in China to slow below 5% but avoid a hard landing."
  • "I have the price of West Texas Intermediate oil languishing in the $30s throughout the year."
To be sure, Wien isn't alone with his dire forecast.

Newsmax Finance Insider and Allianz Chief Economic Adviser Mohamed El-Erian said the world economy is nearing a crucial fork in its financial road.

He said the global economy is at the end of the era of borrowing growth and profits from the future in the form of easy monetary policies.

"Either we validate the financial asset prices and growth faster, or alternatively we will slip into a global recession with financial disorder," he told CNBC,  saying we’ll know the answers within the next three years.

"The path we're on right now — and that we've been on for a while— is ending," he said.

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Byron Wien, vice chairman of the advisory services unit at Blackstone Group LP, is pessimistic now than he was only a few weeks ago.
Byron Wien, predictions, 2016, economy
Thursday, 28 January 2016 07:00 AM
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