Recession Risk Is a 'Coin Flip' Over the Next Year, Investment Firm Says

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September 13, 2023

The risk of a global recession over the next 12 to 18 months is close to a "coin flip" and financial markets are underestimating the chances of one in the United States, executives at bond giant PIMCO said on Wednesday.

"We've become a bit more constructive, given the better economic numbers," Daniel Ivascyn, group chief investment officer at the $1.79 trillion asset manager told a media event in London.

He was referring to strong data prints in the United States recently which have prompted markets to scale back expectations for rate cuts from the U.S. Federal Reserve over the next 12 months.

Ivascyn said PIMCO is the most interested it has been in interest rate exposure in years, and has also been adding to its position in inflation-linked bonds. Deficit and debt levels were a concern, he added.

Speaking at the same event, Richard Clarida, former Fed vice chair and a global economic advisor to PIMCO, said the odds of a moderate U.S. recession are higher than markets are pricing in.

In Europe, the asset manager expects a rate hike at Thursday's European central bank meeting and next week from the Bank of England, with the latter's November decision more uncertain.

On China, where slowing demand and a deepening property crisis have exacerbated economic slowdown, portfolio manager Pramol Dhawan said PIMCO was looking for additional stimulus to support the economy and had not yet seen a "credible solution."

Stimulus measures so far were "nothing really with a big bang effect to get the economy going," he added.

Beijing has rolled out a series of support measures but investors have so far been disappointed. PIMCO expects more rate cuts and liquidity injections to follow.

Dhawan added that U.S.-China tensions were also denting investor appetite for Chinese stocks. Data on Wednesday showed non-residents withdrew nearly $15 billion from the sector in August, the largest monthly outflow on record.

"I think that only continues in that direction while these sort of elevated tensions between the U.S. and China continue," he said.

Elsewhere in Asia, portfolio manager Stephen Chang said the Japanese yen has been "very weak".

The yen has dropped over 12 percent against the U.S. dollar this year with the Bank of Japan remaining the holdout as peers tighten monetary policy to fight high inflation. But policymakers are increasingly talking up the need to exit accommodative monetary policy.

"By late Q4 and early next year, we think there is an intention from the new governor to get rid of yield curve control and once that is done the next step is normalising monetary policy," Chang said.

(Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe and Chiara Elisei, writing by Yoruk Bahceli; editing by Angus MacSwan)

Published under: Economy