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 / Aug 18, 2020
Despite indications of lost momentum elsewhere, residential construction activity is picking up steam.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Apr 11, 2020
The Federal Reserve greatly expanded the collateral that it is willing to buy, further easing pressures in financial markets.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Nov 07, 2022
Employers continued to add jobs at a steady clip in October, demonstrating the labor market remains tight and the FOMC will continue to tighten policy.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Apr 18, 2020
Economic data from the early stages of the Great Shutdown have finally arrived, and they are as bad as feared. ‘Worst on record’ is about to become an all too common refrain in our commentary.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Mar 21, 2020
Daily life came to a screeching halt this week as governments, businesses and consumers took drastic steps to halt the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Jul 30, 2021
In the biggest financial news this week not connected to college football conference realignment, July\'s NAHB Housing Market Index slipped one point to 80.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Dec 21, 2019
President Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached by the House, but removal by the Senate is highly unlikely. The House also passed the USMCA, which should be signed into law in early 2020.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Jul 27, 2022
July\'s NAHB Housing Market Index dropped 12 points to 55, the second largest monthly decline on record behind April 2020\'s pandemic-induced collapse.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Dec 14, 2020
Emergency authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine appears imminent, but the virus is running rampant across the United States today, pointing to a grim winter.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Mar 07, 2020
An inter-meeting rate cut by the FOMC did little to stem financial market volatility, as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continued to climb.