Fed Numbers Point Toward Recession, According to Economist

The Federal Reserve's projections for interest rates are signaling a potential recession on the horizon, according to esteemed economist David Rosenberg. He interprets the Fed's communication as a subtle admission that an economic downturn is likely imminent.

Despite a seemingly positive outlook with a projected GDP growth of 2.1% and an unemployment rate stabilizing at 4%, Rosenberg identifies the forecasted reduction in the federal funds rate as a harbinger of recessionary trends.

The Federal Reserve projects a significant decrease in the federal funds rate, expecting a cut of 150 basis points to 3.875% by 2025, and a further reduction of 225 basis points to 3.125% by the end of 2026. Rosenberg points out that historically, the Federal Reserve has opted for a rate reduction of 75 basis points in scenarios aiming for a soft landing, such as in the years 1987, 1995, 1998, and 2019.

The notable exception occurred between September 1984 and August 1986, during which rates were cut more deeply in response to a dramatic 60% fall in oil prices. According to Rosenberg, any post-World War II adjustments to the funds rate nearing a -150 basis point decrease have traditionally been indicative of economic contractions.

With the Federal Reserve now prioritizing recession mitigation, investors are keenly awaiting a series of rate cuts beginning this year. However, Rosenberg cautions against overly optimistic expectations for such adjustments. He reminds investors that during recessions, interest rates, bond yields, and stock prices typically decline simultaneously, highlighting the interconnected nature of economic indicators.

Additionally, Rosenberg raises concerns about the leveraged loan market, noting its increasing vulnerability as the likelihood of an economic downturn becomes more pronounced. He reports that defaults are accumulating, with the delinquency rate surpassing 6%, a figure that doubles the average since 1997 and approaches levels observed prior to the recessions of 2001, 2008, and 2020.

This situation presents a cautionary tale for investors navigating the current economic landscape, emphasizing the importance of vigilance and strategic planning in the face of potential market shifts.


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