All Posts Tagged: trade
For the first time since early 2018 when the U.S.-China Trade War came on the scene and early 2019 when Brexit deadlines came and went, we believe downside tail risks for the U.S. and global economy are measurably easing.
The synchronized global downturn in economic growth that intensified in 2019 has been met with substantial global monetary easing, including three quarter point rate cuts from the Federal Reserve that has worked to keep global financial conditions loose and may yet help rekindle consumer and business confidence in 2020.
We do not think what happened this week with the historic victory of Boris Johnson and the Conservatives in the U.K., or the phase 1 trade agreement with China, will be a magic bullet that makes all the global economic problems disappear overnight, but it does reduce the prospect of a worst case global recession scenario playing out in 2020.
We are also somewhat more confident in our “no recession” call for the U.S. economy in 2020, and for the first time in a long time contemplating the possibility of upside U.S. growth surprises in the second half of next year.
We are not yet making any hard forecasts changes for next year until we see more of the details around the U.S. China trade agreement, and a specific Brexit agreement still needs to be hammered out with the EU by the end of January, but for the first time in a long time we see a faint glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
In the meantime, the U.S. and global economies remain on their pre-described slowdown paths that are expected to carry on in the first half of 2020. Fundamental global economic indicators continue to deteriorate into December, despite global equity markets hitting all-time highs.
Just this morning we got a reminder that in the U.S. it is not just business investment that is being held back because of trade and global uncertainties, but there are growing signs that the U.S. consumer is also becoming more cautious in their spending.
Retail sales growth has been limping along over the last three months compared to earlier in the year. The November retail sales report, while missing consensus expectations, was still in-line with our forecast for 2.3% real consumer spending growth in the fourth quarter. If realized, fourth quarter consumer spending will show a marked deceleration from Q2 and Q3 when real consumer spending jumped 4.6% and 2.9% on an annualized basis.
We think this consumer slowdown will continue in the first half of 2020 no matter what else happens on the U.S.-China trade front.
Supporting this forecast is real average hourly earnings growth that continues to weaken to just 1.1% year-on-year from 1.9% in February of 2019.
And last week’s initial jobless claims spike to 252k, the highest level since 2017, could be indicating some new signs of deterioration in the labor market. We will watching the U.S. labor market indicators for further signs of deterioration in the weeks ahead. Tail risks appear to be diminishing for the U.S. and global economies. However, substantial downside risks remain with a new one taking the top spot in my view– the possibility of financial bubbles and financial instability ahead.
To learn more, check out this week’s U.S. Outlook.Read More ›
After all the excitement surrounding the trade meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping over the weekend, the outcome seems to have fallen flat for investors.
On Friday, ahead of the summit, the S&P 500 leapt higher before paring gains on Monday as investors realized no long-term solution had been reached. However, some positives did result from the conversation between the two heads of state.Read More ›
The impact of the trade war escalation is clearly visible in our lowered forecasts for U.S. GDP growth, interest rates and inflation. We have cut our near‐term consumer inflation forecasts as oil, energy, and metals prices plunge and the dollar strengthens on flight‐to‐safety capital flows.Read More ›
Bad news about the global economy seems to be piling up. Last week the OECD cut its 2019 global growth estimate to only 3.2% from 3.3% forecast just two months ago.Read More ›