The “R” word

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Nearly half of chief financial officers polled in the U.S. think the economy will move into a recession by the end of the 2019, according to the monthly Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook. The CFO survey, which polls more than 500 chief financial officers around the world, has been conducted for 91 consecutive quarters.

According to the survey, 48.6 percent of U.S. CFOs believe that the U.S. will be in recession by the end of 2019, and 82 percent said a recession will have begun by the end of 2020.

“The end is near for the near-decade-long burst of global economic growth,” said John Graham, a finance professor at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and director of the survey, in a statement. “The U.S. outlook has declined, and moreover the outlook is even worse in many other parts of the world, which will lead to softer demand for U.S. goods.”

In 2019, according to the survey, CFOs expect growth under three percent for the U.S. economy, with accompanying capital spending and employment growth of about 3 percent.

“Their recession projections suggest CFOs believe most of this growth will occur early in the year,” Graham said. “This means there is still time for the government to use the tools at their disposal to soften the fall.”

The authors said that “heightened market volatility, the impact of growth-reducing protectionism, and the ominous flattening of the yield curve which has predicted recessions accurately over the past 50 years,” were signs that the ten-year growth period could be coming to an end.

In other news, global stock markets continue their erratic behavior as the new year starts. The Wall Street Journal reported that stocks fell following weak economic data from China. The year-end stock selloff has proved to be the worst annual decline for major indexes since 2008.