Incoming economic data demonstrate that while the economy is losing momentum, activity remains resilient. Consumer confidence rose to the highest level in six months in September, and stripping out some volatility in new orders for durable goods revealed stabilization in demand and strength in Q3 equipment spending. The third release of second-quarter GDP growth also included revisions that put the economy in a stronger position coming out of the pandemic-induced recession than previously thought. Consumer spending in particular has been unwavering, with real personal spending rising 0.1% in August.
With little indication that households have lost their staying power, we have adjusted our forecast. The current resilience in economic activity does not dismiss an eventual recession, but it does make it less likely that a recession will start by the beginning of next year. Near-term strength also means more monetary tightening will likely be necessary to slow growth sufficiently enough to quell elevated inflation. As we detail in this week's Interest Rate Watch, we now project the FOMC to hike its federal funds rate by an additional 125 bps this year and another 50 bps at the start of next year, which would bring the target range of the federal funds rate to 4.75%-5.00% by March (chart).
Importantly, we still see the economy falling into a mild recession next year, but we now expect it to take place slightly later, beginning in the second rather than first quarter, as the lagged effects of monetary policy begin to bite more meaningfully into consumption and weigh on the ability of firms to hire. An important consideration is that the economic trade off for growth today is the potential for a worse hit to households later. Consumers have increasingly relied on their balance sheets to spend with wage gains not keeping pace with inflation. The longer that lasts, the larger the deterioration in household finances. For this reason, we are now looking for a slightly larger decline in real personal consumption expenditures in our latest projections with a peak-to-trough decline of 1.0% compared to 0.6% previously
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Oct 19, 2019
Personal consumption is still on track for a solid Q3, but retail sales declined in September for the first time in seven months.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Aug 22, 2020
Downstream involves the refining and processing of oil and natural gas into fuels, chemicals, and plastics. All three sectors are well-represented in Houston.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / May 19, 2020
The U.S. is in a severe recession caused by the sudden shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the lock down began, the nation has lost 21.4 million jobs.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Jan 23, 2021
Housing starts jumped 5.8% during December. Single-family starts soared 12%, while multifamily starts dropped 13.6%.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Feb 22, 2020
Minutes from the January 28-29 FOMC meeting indicate the coronavirus will not push the Fed to cut interest rates, and for the most part housing and manufacturing survey data this week supported that view.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Jun 26, 2021
Okay, so I’ve gotten about half a dozen calls since Wednesday asking if I saw the May CPI numbers that came out this week.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Mar 07, 2023
Looking at Q4 GDP, Australia\'s economy grew by less than expected, GDP was flat for the quarter in both Canada and Switzerland, and Sweden\'s economy contracted in the final quarter of last year.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Dec 21, 2020
This week marked the first U.S. COVID vaccinations and the imminent rollout of a second vaccine.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Apr 26, 2023
The Leading Economic Index (“LEI”) continued to flash contraction as early signs of labor market weakening are starting to emerge. Meanwhile, a batch of housing data confirmed that a full-fledged housing market recovery is still far off.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Jan 28, 2023
Real GDP expanded at a 2.9% annualized pace in Q4. While beating expectations, the underlying details were not as encouraging. Moreover, the weakening monthly indicator performances to end the year suggest the decelerating trend will continue in Q1.