From the recent archives of TGIF 2 Minutes – especially worth a second look as the year 2023 unfolds. Inflation recently came in at a still very high 6.5%… which seems “low” only because several months ago inflation was at 9.1%. Shelter and services (including daycare) remain the areas with highest inflation; gas, autos, computers, and sporting goods saw slower rises in still high prices. Employment remains an oddly strong component of the economy – leaving the likelihood of a “soft landing” type of economic slowdown a possibility.
Sept 2022: It is fairly safe to say that the US has entered a recession, even if the backwards looking, narrowly focused, official “National Bureau of Economics Research”, or NBER, has not declared it yet. The NBER is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1920 that somehow came to possess the distinct “responsibility” of declaring recessions in the US. Seriously?
It is fairly safe to say that the US has entered a recession, even if the backwards looking, narrowly focused, official “National Bureau of Economics Research”, or NBER, has not declared it yet. The NBER is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1920 that somehow came to possess the distinct “responsibility” of declaring recessions in the US. Seriously?
In the case that the US has entered a recession (not yet “declared” by the NBER) then what does that mean for savers and investors? A quick bit of background: typically, economic cool-downs come in two varieties: hard landings and soft landings.
The hard landing ends a period of economic expansion in recession,
The soft landing ends a period of expansion with a smoother period of mere economic slow-down.
To keep with the theme of walking, and because this week the US Federal Reserve “walked up” its benchmark interest rate, a brief discussion is warranted about interest rates, recessions, and the economy. By the way, the weather is HOT as heck, so today’s is a shorter post.
In the accompanying photo please note the mountains in the distance – which could be equated to higher ground, higher prices, and higher interest rates. The walkers seem not to be panicking (yet) because it is early in the higher interest rate progression. Think:
Will the Fed raise interest rates aggressively? Or will the economic threat of recession force the Fed to slow its pace of rate increases? The outcome in what is shaping up as a sort of “game of chicken” remains to be seen.
Inflation is raging – there is no question. Prices of items as basic as eggs, butter and milk are increasing at crazy high rates. This is not to mention price increases for meat and produce. Gas prices have become crippling, just as workers return to corporate offices even part-time. Restaurants are still raising prices for diners. Home prices are still going up, although the recent rise in mortgage rates may cool the craziness. Wage increases are still happening (and not keeping up with inflation but also feeding into inflation) although there may be moderation in wages coming. The list goes on.
As we all “shelter in place” and our kids are in “cyber school” we take in news both of the day and of the bigger picture. Here are several personal financial-related cautionary thoughts and a quick graphic (see below). People way smarter than I say that data is key to decision-making and the ability to stick with a plan in crisis situations.
The past several weeks has seen the first pandemic in the era of social media. The last H1N1 Influenza pandemic was in 2009. In 2009, Facebook was young (founded 2004) and Twitter was in its infancy (founded 2006).
In addition to a handful of other major factors, the Covid-19 coronavirus is descending on the planet during: a US Presidential election year, a high-level fight over oil between the Saudis and Russia AND immediately following an almost 11-year UP stock market in the US.
How many of these items have you been bombarded about lately?
Inverted yield curve
Negative bond yields
Trade and Currency wars
“Fed Chairman Powell lacks clarity in his Q&A sessions” (talk about the ultimate throw under the bus)
A recession may or may not be coming soon. Recessions have been part of the US and global economies since the dawn of recording market data which dates to the 1920’s (with recessions dating back to the 1800’s). Please see the accompanying chart that summarizes various scary events since 1970, several of which led to nasty recessions. Remember the Arab oil embargo?? The Dotcom bust?? Please also note the way the US stock market – which is based on a free market economy and the consumer – has recovered over time. Continue reading “Is a Recession Coming?”