A Recession is On the Way

An article in Financial Advisor magazine argues that a recession—and maybe a bear market—are on the horizon, predicting a “two-thirds probability” for a business downturn starting this year.

The article cites the following recessionary indicators:

  • Tighter monetary policy;
  • Near-inversion in the Treasury yield curve;
  • The “swoon” in stocks at the end of last year;
  • Weaker housing activity;
  • Soft consumer spending;
  • The “tiny” 20,000 increase in February payrolls compared to the 223,000 monthly average gain last year.
  • Effects of the deteriorating European economies as well as China’s decelerating growth and President Trump’s ongoing trade war with them.

While the article notes the possibility that the current “economic softening” is only temporary, it adds, “a revival would bring more Fed restraint. Policy makers want higher rates in order to have significant room to cut in the next recession, and the current 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent range doesn’t give them much leeway.”

The article offers data on past recessions and the drivers behind them, concluding: “At present, I don’t see any major economic or financial bubbles that are just begging to be pricked.” It notes, however, that excess U.S. corporate debt and heavy borrowing by emerging-market economies could be cause for concern.