US severe recession may be unavoidable
According to economic commentators, a catastrophic US recession may be unavoidable if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates too rapidly in order to temper demand and contain record high inflation.
Economic analysts told Sputnik that a catastrophic US recession may be unavoidable if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates too rapidly in order to temper demand and contain record-high inflation.
After estimating the second straight quarter of negative growth, a major Federal Reserve model this week suggested that the US economic recession had officially begun. The Atlanta Federal Reserve's GDPNow model forecasted -1% growth in the second quarter on Thursday, following a -1.6% growth in the first quarter.
The central bank has stated that it will continue to raise interest rates until inflation, which is now at 40-year highs of more than 8% per year, returns to its objective of 2% per year. On Friday, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President Mary Daly stated that US interest rates must double by the end of the year for the central bank to have a reasonable chance of neutralizing inflation.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell stated earlier this week that, while a "soft landing" is conceivable, it will be difficult for the US economy to escape a recession as a result of the central bank's rate changes.
Retired Brown University Assistant Professor of Economics Barry Friedman told Sputnik, "We won't be able to avoid a 'hard landing' with a serious recession… [and] the quicker we try to cool down inflation to the 2% target, the more likely the recession will be severe."
Friedman warned that attempting to break out of stagflation was risky (a combination of weak growth and high inflation).
"They may hate stagflation, but a sudden sharp recession is an awful risk of a snowballing movement that takes difficult political compromises to turn around, and who is going to compromise these days?" he said.
Some economists feel the situation is worse than the stagflation of the 1970s and early 1980s, when inflation peaked at 13.5% and then-Fed chair Paul Volcker increased interest rates to more than 20%, precipitating a 16-month recession.
Trends Journal publisher Gerald Celente told Sputnik that "contrary to the major media talking about stagflation it will be dragflation, adding that "economies won't stagnate as inflation rises: It will be declining gross domestic products and rising inflation."
Marshall Auerback, a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College, stated that all evidence pointed to an impending economic downturn.
Auerback believes a recession is already in place and that "consumer confidence is hitting record lows even below what we had in the early 1980s during the era of Volcker's interest rate hikes."
He also mentioned that the Bloomberg Agricultural Spot Index declined 12% in June, while practically all other important industrial commodity prices, such as steel and fertilizers, decreased.
According to him, "What is striking is how across the board these price declines are. Almost no commodity prices have risen since interim peaks in May or June."
He also mentioned the drop in the US Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which fell for the second month in a row in June. Expectations, he continued, have slipped into a range previously linked with recessions.
Retail sales were also down in the US and Europe, according to Auerback.
"This rapid inventory build coupled with widespread business concerns about excessive inventories for several months now suggests this build in inventories has been involuntary," Auerback said. "In other words, firms have experienced an unexpected shortfall in consumer purchases."