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  5. The economy is sending mixed signals about a recession, and that's made the timing of the next rate cut less meaningful

The economy is sending mixed signals about a recession, and that's made the timing of the next rate cut less meaningful

Matthew Fox   

The economy is sending mixed signals about a recession, and that's made the timing of the next rate cut less meaningful
  • The economy is sending mixed signals about a potential recession in the near future, according to Ned Davis Research.
  • While housing and manufacturing indicators give off early-cycle vibes, the unemployment rate is signaling a late-cycle economy.
  • The conflicting data suggests the Fed should de-emphasize when it will cut interest rates.

The US economy is sending mixed signals about when the next recession will arrive.

According to a recent note from Ned Davis Research, depending on which indicator is examined, some are giving off vibes of an economy that is in an early cycle of expansion, while others suggest the economy is late cycle with $4

For example, the Leading Economic Index has recently bottomed after a near two-year decline, suggesting that the economy is in the early stages of an expansionary phase. Other economic indicators $4 lately and argue for a long runway of economic growth ahead.

But on the flip side, near-record lows in the unemployment rate and extremely tight credit spreads are consistent with what happens right before an economic recession arrives.

"The pandemic and the enormous policy responses from both monetary and fiscal authorities created distortions to normal economic behavior. The economy is in the process of rebalancing to eliminate those distortions. But that rebalancing shows up in different ways and in different indicators," NDR strategist Joseph Kalish said.

Part of the reason for the distortion hinges on the fact that the Fed's monetary policy has had less of an impact on the broader economy in recent years, given the fact that sizable interest rate hikes in 2022 and 2023 failed to cause a broad-based slowdown in economic growth.

"Monetary policy has been much less effective in the US than it has been in other economies such as Europe. The greater use of long-term fixed-rate debt in the US led to massive refinancings by households and businesses during the pandemic," Kalish explained.

The mismatch in economic indicators means that the Federal Reserve needs to be incredibly flexible with its interest rate decisions, Kalish said, adding that they should play down the significance of $4

"Powell should de-emphasize the first rate cut as a significant step, and argue that Fed policy will be flexible and adjust with economic conditions and the evolving outlook," Kalish said.

That advice appears especially poignant following the release of the $4 which plunged the probability of the first Fed interest rate cut happening in June from 50% to about 20% and pushed out the likelihood of a rate cut to July.



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