Tags: recession | wsj | 2020 | economy

WSJ: Recession Risk Rises to 7-Year High

hands of clock closing in on recession

By    |   Thursday, 10 January 2019 06:31 PM

Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal are seeing on average a 25 percent chance of a recession within the next 12 months.

It is the highest level since October 2011, up from just 13 percent last year.

Economists cited trade dispute with China, rising interest rates and the massive equity sell-off in December, WSJ.com reported.

“Trade talks, China, and global growth are formidable risks,” said Lynn Reaser of Point Loma Nazarene University, a former chief economist at Bank of America Corp.

Forecasters are even more concerned about the outlook for 2020. More than half of the economists, 56.6%, said they expected a recession to start in 2020, a presidential election year, while another 26.4% of those surveyed expect a recession in 2021.

The WSJ survey isn't the only recent recession warning. 

Economist Larry Summers repeatedly warned in numerous mainstream media appearances this week that America headed toward a recession in the next two years.

"People are now saying there's a 40-or-50% chance of a recession within the next two years," the former Treasury secretary told CNN.

The Harvard University economics professor also told CNBC that President Donald Trump’s trade-tariff battle against China is just one of the adminsitration’s financial and economic gambles that may not pay off at they hoped.

"The president vastly overstates the comfort of our own economic position," he said. "Our position isn't so strong."

Summers, who led the Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton and served as one of President Barack Obama's top economic advisers, acknowledged that the United States isn't in a downturn yet, CNN explained.

He said other economic indicators, including consumer sentiment and commodity prices, are more troubling.

"Whenever you start to see slowing, the prospect or possibility of recession is something that you have to reckon with," Summers said.

Summers isn't alone in his economic pessimism.

The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis said he’s concerned that any more interest-rate increases could push the U.S. economy into a recession.

“We’ve got a good level of the policy rate today” and there’s no urgent need to go higher, James Bullard, a voting member this year on the Federal Open Market Committee, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Wednesday.

The Fed is “bordering on going too far and possibly tipping the economy into recession” if rates are lifted, he told the paper.

Bullard has been arguing, mostly unsuccessfully, for the Fed to hold off on rate increases because inflation isn’t posing a risk of accelerating much beyond officials’ 2 percent target. The Fed raised the benchmark short-term borrowing cost in December, the fourth hike of 2018 and the ninth since a tightening campaign began near the end of 2015.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said investors should increase their holdings of cash even with fears of a recession in the U.S. this year likely to prove overblown.

With a risk-free rate of 2.4 percent on three-month T-bills, “cash represents a competitive asset,” with allocations likely near the lowest levels in 30 years for many investors, analysts including chief strategist David Kostin wrote in a research note, Bloomberg reported.

The bank recommended investors reduce holdings in bonds this year and remain invested in equities. Though U.S. stocks could come under further pressure, the Goldman strategists said they expect “positive U.S. economic growth will support continued earnings growth.”

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Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal are seeing on average a 25 percent chance of a recession within the next 12 months.
recession, wsj, 2020, economy
Thursday, 10 January 2019 06:31 PM
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