The Kiplinger Letter is the most widely read business forecasting periodical in the world, and lender Bob Schwab sent a recent one that gave me a lot of interesting information. It says:
“We don’t think a recession is imminent, despite a recent warning sign from the bond market. But that doesn’t mean the economy is fine. A substantial slowdown is in the works. “
The letter also hints at the recent slowdown in the European economy, which we touched on in a recent blog. I recently mentioned the inverse yield curve and the Kiplinger Letter noted the rate on short term bills briefly topped long-term yields last month, a situation the presaged recessions in recent decades, though long term rates soon rose again. Bob also mentioned that it was the 1-year treasury note that had a higher yield than the 5-year. It is when the 1-year and 10-year inverse that has led to a recession in the past.
Suddenly, the U.S. doesn’t appear immune to a recession.
Here are the reasons for guarded optimism, as Kiplinger see them…facts about the underlying strength of the U.S. economy that ought not to be overlooked:
- The jobless rate is low. Inflation is modest.
- The housing market is starting to rebound. (I feel our area is rebounding, just not as robust as a year ago)
- Consumers continue to feel fairly confident, though their mood varies as stock prices rise or fall.
- A trade deal with China still appears likely to happen later this spring, which would give a badly needed boost to global trade.
- The stock market isn’t pricing in a recession yet. Nor are corporate bonds, whose yields relative to safe Treasuries indicate investors aren’t afraid of defaults.
It is also interesting to look at in the context of historical rates, which for buyers is a key motivator to whether they will buy or not. At the end of the day, we still look great, as shown below: