Survey of economists: US recession unlikely within 12 months

The NABE survey results reflect a collective belief that some of the US economy’s momentum is fading. (Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 28 January 2019

Survey of economists: US recession unlikely within 12 months

  • The survey results being released Monday reflect a collective belief that some of the economy’s momentum is fading
  • Most of the economists say President Donald Trump’s economic policies have done little to affect their businesses’ plans

WASHINGTON: A majority of business economists foresee no recession in the United States within the next 12 months but do predict a slowdown in growth this year.
A survey by the National Association for Business Economics finds that nearly two-thirds of respondents think the economy will keep growing this year in what would become the longest expansion on record in US history at more than 10 years.
Still, the survey results being released Monday reflect a collective belief that some of the economy’s momentum is fading. Compared with the NABE’s previous survey in October, for example, a smaller proportion of economists said their companies’ sales were rising. And fewer expect profit growth to increase. Corporate investments in new equipment has also cooled.
Most of the economists say President Donald Trump’s economic policies have done little to affect their businesses’ plans. An overwhelming majority — 84 percent — say Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, which sharply reduced the burden on corporations, failed to influence their companies’ hiring or investment outlooks. A nearly equal proportion of respondents (77 percent) indicated that Trump’s trade policies haven’t affected their companies’ plans for hiring, pricing or investment.
The results fit a broader pattern. The economy appears to be slowing as a dose of stimulus from Trump’s tax cuts has been fading. Job growth has been steady, but the stock market has stumbled and global growth has deteriorated.
Home sales have weakened, and 2019 began with a blast of nervous uncertainty as the federal government endured what became a 35-day partial shutdown.
The NABE survey, which has been conducted quarterly since 1982, was based on responses from 106 economists who are employed by companies or industry trade associations.


Israel cenbank’s Abir says buying corporate bonds to prevent layoffs

Updated 08 July 2020

Israel cenbank’s Abir says buying corporate bonds to prevent layoffs

JERUSALEM: The Bank of Israel’s decision to start buying corporate bonds should enable companies to issue debt and prevent further layoffs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, deputy governor Andrew Abir said.
On Monday, the bank held its benchmark interest rate at 0.1 percent but said it would buy 15 billion shekels ($4 billion) of higher-rated corporate bonds in the secondary market.
“It’s not that the corporate bond market was not functioning or because spreads have widened dramatically, but rather the understanding that over the next 6-12 months, there’s going to be a need for issuance in that market,” Abir told Reuters.
The central bank began purchases on March 15 of up to 50 billion shekels of government bonds, which has helped reverse a spike in government and corporate yields.
The index of bonds issued by Israel’s 20 largest firms has gained 1.4 percent following the central bank’s announcement, following three weeks of declines.
Noting that more than 40 percent of corporate credit comes from the bond market, Abir said that fear of being frozen out the market could lead to cash hoarding and cost-cutting, including jobs.
“We want to prevent a situation where a company is having question marks in its ability to fund themselves (and) lays off another 1,000 workers.”
Unemployment is already more than 20 percent and could worsen after some COVID-19 restrictions were reimposed.
Abir said risks to the central bank’s scenario of a record six percent economic contraction in 2020 will be “to the downside” if the infection rate stays high.
Analysts are split over whether the central bank will lower its key rate to zero percent or negative. The Bank of Israel has indicated it is reluctant to do so.
“We still have more measures that we can do. QE can be increased. We haven’t run out of our policy options,” Abir said.