News ID: 252967
Published: 0513 GMT May 17, 2019

US recession risk rises as US-China trade tensions heat up: Poll

US recession risk rises as US-China trade tensions heat up: Poll

Over the last month the US-China trade war has boosted the risk of a US recession, say a strong majority of economists polled by Reuters, who now put the chances of that happening in the next two years at 40 percent.

That is up from a median 35 percent in last month’s poll, the first time it had dipped slightly from where it held since December last year, before a crushing sell-off on Wall Street as 2018 came to a close, in part because of those worries.

US President Donald Trump has dismissed the ongoing trade war with China as a “little squabble,” but there are clear signs of the conflict already having an impact on the economy, and the stock market has become jittery again, Presstv Reported.

“I have a hard time thinking of a scenario in which a further escalation of the trade tension we currently have would not make recession risk higher,” said Michael Hanson, head of global macro strategy at TD Securities.

“We are already in a situation where the level of tariffs that are either imposed or threatened to be imposed over the next several weeks are really quite high ... and a move to basically putting tariffs of 25 percent on everything we import from China is a very real drag in the economy,” said Hanson.

While only a single-digit percentage of respondents say a US recession is likely in the coming year, more than one-quarter of economists polled see a greater than 50 percent probability of recession within two years.

The most pessimistic call for the probability of a recession in one year also has crept up, from 60 percent to 70 percent.

The US economy is forecast to have already lost considerable momentum, slowing to 2.0 percent in the current quarter from 3.2 percent in the first three months of the year, according to median forecasts from the latest monthly poll of 120 economists.

That forecast for April-June is a sharp downgrade from 2.5 percent in last month’s poll, owing in part to the unexpectedly strong figure reported for January-March. Growth is forecast to slow to 1.8 percent, below trend, by the fourth quarter of 2020.

The impact of the trade war is already being felt on the economy, with retail giants like Walmart Inc warning shoppers that prices will rise due to higher tariffs on Chinese imports.

Nearly 75 percent of economists, or 52 of 70, who answered an additional question on what the US-China trade war developments this month had done to the risks of a US recession said they had increased.

China is trying to steer its economy away from exporting cheap goods and more toward domestic consumption. But the United States, already a very consumer-reliant economy, imports hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods from China, which the Trump administration is hitting with tariffs.

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