As many analysts, investors and financial firms warn of a recession impacted by an ongoing trade war between the United States and China, at least one person is offering a counterpoint.
Marie Owens Thomsen, the global head of investment intelligence at Indosuez Wealth Management, believes that tariff hikes will not send the country into another slump as it closes in on its longest period of economic growth since 1785. She told StockVisionary.com that as long as trading volume continues to grow, there is no threat of a recession.
“One thing that is protecting us from a recession is that although we are talking about higher tariffs, they are rising from a record low level,” she said. “Even if they double the tariffs, they will still come nowhere close to our historical experience.”
Tariffs only amounted to 1% of all imports into the U.S. and 5% of dutiable imports in 2017 compared to 60% when the country was going through the Great Depression according to Owens Thomsen.
But her comments fly in the face of what many analysts are saying about the current state of global economics. On Tuesday, Morgan Stanley warned clients in a note that people may be underestimating the impact the U.S.-China trade war will have on the economy.
“Recent data points suggest U.S. earnings and economic risk is greater than most investors may think,” Morgan Stanley Chief U.S. Equity Strategist Michael Wilson wrote.
Economist Paul Krugman told Bloomberg TV on Sunday that it “seems pretty likely” for the U.S. to go into a recession within the next two years citing China’s lack of consumption and weak growth of European economies as warnings of the overall global outlook.
Owens Thomsen believes that the broad macroeconomic view still supports growth, and the bounce-back efforts of the U.S. markets after the crash at the end of 2018 are evidence against a recession any time soon.
“Surrounding the growth figures, we also have very low interest and inflation rates … the [capital market] price actions we saw in December were very divorced from macroeconomic reality and that’s why were still reasonably positive at the time, and we also have a reasonably positive outlook for this year,” she said.
Because of that “reasonably positive” outlook, Owens Thomsen is also skeptical of the Federal Reserve’s recent announcement of no interest rate hikes soon, predicting the Fed to raise rates two more times this year.
“The US economy is still expanding, just at a lower pace, and inflation has been and probably will be over target,” she said. “As long as inflation is over the 2 per cent target, they must have a tightening bias.”