We have been on record since late April suggesting that there was a rising risk of a US recession. But, this is the first time we have seen a Fed official publicly acknowledge it.
At the same time, Cleveland Fed President Mester (and a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee who makes the ultimate decision) thinks that a November rate increase should be considered.
The Fed has continued to publicly maintain a more optimistic view of the US economy, as they indicated in their most recent press release following their September 21 meeting, where they decided to hold interest rates at current levels. They do this to give the general public (those who pay attention to this stuff) a higher degree of confidence.
We continue to suggest that for an economy to grow, the consumer and businesses must be confident before they make the decisions to increase spending and longer-term investment.
We maintain that behind the scenes, the Fed is trying to balance their optimism with all the concerns that continue to keep them from raising interest rates (even though they, or at least some are anxious to normalize them) as they lowered expectations for 2016 growth to 1.8% from 2%.
I would suggest that the outcome of the US election and the uncertainty surrounding that is driving decision making at the Fed.
The latest data show that the consumer has eased up on spending, and non-residential structures investment has stalled dropping Q3 GDP expectations to 2.2%.
Today is Webinar Tuesday at High Rock, we will talk about this, the global economy and portfolio strategy and performance (which we continue to provide for our clients, despite our defensive posture) with our clients. We will post the recorded version on our website at about 5pm EDT (well before the Blue Jays vs. Orioles 8pm EDT starting time). So feel free to tune in: http://www.highrockcapital.ca/current-edition-of-the-weekly-webinar.html
Scott Tomenson,CIM Managing Partner, Chief Investment Strategist