/perspectives/macroeconomic-research/macroeconomic-outlook-first-quarter-2016

The U.S. Economy Is Fundamentally Sound

Our first-quarter Macroeconomic Outlook suggests recession fears are overblown, and that the oil market should rebalance in the second half.

March 17, 2016


This sector report is excerpted from the First Quarter 2016 Fixed-Income Outlook.

A sharp selloff in global equities and continued volatility in credit markets have rattled investors, but we do not believe the factors roiling the markets will derail the ongoing U.S. expansion. A stronger dollar has weighed on the U.S. economy, but consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the U.S. economy, has been resilient. Aided by the windfall of lower energy prices, final domestic demand contributed 2.5 percentage points to real GDP growth in 2015 (see chart, top right). The labor market is now operating near full employment with the unemployment rate at 4.9 percent, and tight labor market conditions are beginning to spur faster wage growth. Based on our analysis of these and other factors, we believe the U.S. economy is fundamentally sound, and find little evidence to support the conclusion that the economy will fall into a recession in 2016. Our base case is that the next recession will arrive in 2018 or later.

U.S. Demand Growth Remains Solid Despite Trade and Inventory Drags

We see only modest risks of recession in 2016 despite some prognostications to the contrary. A stronger dollar has weighed on the U.S. economy, but domestic demand growth looks solid, with consumer spending leading the way.

 

World Oil Supply/Demand Should Balance in 2016

Source: Guggenheim Investments, Haver, BEA. Data as of 12.31.2015. *In percentage points.

The decline in oil prices may be helping consumers, but as our sector managers relate throughout this report, it has taken a toll on corporate credit. Our research team’s oil model indicates that oil prices will rise toward $40 per barrel in 2016, however, as global supply and demand rebalance (see chart, bottom right).

Despite the relative health of the U.S. economy, markets are questioning the Fed’s resolve to increase rates. Giving rise to this view are concerns that sluggish global growth will hold back the U.S. expansion, that inflation will remain below the Fed’s target for longer, and that tighter conditions in credit markets have raised recession risks. Our view is that the Fed remains focused on fulfilling its dual mandate objectives of maximum employment and price stability, and thus is biased toward normalizing policy. We expect further declines in the unemployment rate as job gains outstrip growth in the labor force. Meanwhile, core and headline inflation should move closer to the Fed’s target by year end, reflecting our forecasts for a tighter labor market and a modest rise in oil prices. This should keep a couple of Fed rate hikes on the table in 2016, which we would interpret as a sign that the expansion remains intact. A solid macroeconomic backdrop and a rebalancing oil market should support an improving credit picture in the second half of 2016.

Oil Prices Should Rebound Toward $40 Per Barrel

A supply glut has caused a surge in global oil inventories, leading to a 70 percent decline in oil prices from July 2014 to December 2015. The Guggenheim model indicates that the oil market will move closer to balance in 2016, however, as demand rises and high cost producers curtail production.

 

World Oil Supply/Demand Should Balance in 2016

Source: Guggenheim Investments, Bloomberg, Haver, EIA. Data as of 2.29.2016.

 


FEATURED PERSPECTIVES

April 09, 2019

Forecasting the Next Recession: How Severe Will the Next Recession Be?

Our Recession Probability Model and Recession Dashboard suggest the recession could come as early as first half of 2020 but may not be as severe as past recessions.

March 07, 2019

Late-Cycle Drama Is Unfolding

Risk assets will likely enjoy another rally while the Fed stays on hold, but the pause will only allow excesses to become more pronounced.

January 24, 2019

Amber Lights Flash at Davos

Should the mood this year at Davos prove once again to be a contra-indicator, this may be the signal that the economy is likely to re-accelerate soon and that the party in risk assets continues.


VIDEO

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Portfolio Manager Adam Bloch and Macroeconomic and Investment Research Group Director Matt Bush share insights from the first quarter 2019 Fixed-Income Outlook.

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Anne Walsh, Chief Investment Officer for Fixed Income, shares insights on the fixed-income market and explains the Guggenheim approach to solving the Core Conundrum.







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