Business 12 February 2019

Erik Gibbs

Major asset management firm believes a US recession is imminent

The US economy is setting itself up for a recession and it might come sooner than most expect. This is the prediction of George Maris, the co-head of equities for Janus Henderson. Janus is an assessment management firm that currently has $370 billion in assets under its management. 

Speaking on Bloomberg Markets, Maris made his stark prediction, stating, “It’s [a U.S. recession] clear a near-term risk. If we can’t get trade negotiation results favorably, we’ve got weakening investment to look forward to. I mean there’s going to be a problem.” He adds that a recession remains a near-term risk.

Part of the issue stems from currently geopolitical risks, as well as certain domestic policies, he explains. Other uncertainties regarding the U.S. stock market contribute to the belief that long-term stability in the economy is quickly becoming untenable. 

As an example, many major indexes in the U.S. stock markets have lost a lot of the gains they saw in January. Among these are the NASDAQ Composite and Dow Jones, which have backed down somewhat from their early-year positive runs.

Maris added, “Given the political issues in the United States, there seems to be very little appetite to anything done, so it will be hard to get fiscal expansions, whether it is infrastructure-based or otherwise; tax cuts, etc. to happen is going to be unlikely.” He further explained, “So with that kind of uncertainty happening over the economy, you know recession risks are going to elevate.”

Maris explains that the central bank has lost a lot of the options it once had at its disposal to prevent a recession. This lack of control is ultimately going to ensure that a recession comes. 

A positive outcome of the current trade war between the U.S. and China, if it comes soon, could stave off a recession. He states, “If you get trade resolved, then you can start to see those risks diminish.” However, time is running out and there are still a lot of trade issues to be resolved. The world be watching and waiting for March 1 – the day the trade deal is supposed to be completed.

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