February 15, 2017
U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the fourth quarter was solid but unspectacular, like most of the post-crisis period. The initial estimate came in at 1.9 percent, slightly below expectations and down from 3.5 percent in the third quarter. The quarterly volatility seen in the second half of 2016 resulted mainly from large swings in the contribution of net exports. Smoothing through the quarterly noise reveals a trend-like pace of 1.9 percent real GDP growth over the past year.
Consumer and business confidence indicators have surged in the wake of a contentious election cycle. Optimism about the potential impact of pro-growth fiscal and regulatory policies should spur increased spending, boosting real GDP growth.
Source: Guggenheim Investments, Haver Analytics, Conference Board, NFIB. Data as of 1.31.2017. Shaded areas represent periods of recession.
Fiscal stimulus and deregulation are about to give the U.S. economy a shot in the arm. We expect the combination of corporate and individual tax cuts plus infrastructure spending to lift growth into the 2.5–3.0 percent range over the next couple of years, with the largest impact likely to be seen in 2018. In the meantime, growth should benefit from recent gains in consumer and business confidence, which will support consumption and investment spending as precautionary savings are reduced.
We forecast the unemployment rate to fall below 4 percent before the end of the expansion as faster GDP growth boosts employment while demographic constraints limit gains in the size of the labor force. This would be well below the Fed’s estimate of the natural rate of unemployment; however, we believe the Trump administration’s fiscal agenda will not push up inflation materially because the Fed will respond by tightening monetary policy faster. While CPI inflation will rise in the first quarter due to the receding effects of low oil prices, we forecast a subsequent decline as base effects fade and a stronger dollar helps to contain import prices. These forces, combined with our forecast that crude oil prices will average less than $60 per barrel in 2017, should help keep inflation near the Fed’s target this year.
Nevertheless, Fed policymakers will raise the fed funds rate at a faster pace than the market is currently pricing in. This should cause the yield curve to flatten as rates in the short end rise while the long end is stabilized by confidence in the Fed’s willingness to contain inflation. Our research indicates that the terminal rate at the end of this hiking cycle will be near 3 percent. We expect three Fed rate increases in 2017, amid upside risks to growth and downside risks to unemployment. The next hike will most likely occur in June, but action at the March FOMC meeting is still plausible. We do not think the Fed will begin to shrink its balance sheet until well into 2018, and we expect any such shift to be telegraphed well in advance as Fed officials seek to avoid another “taper tantrum.”
Based on the Summary of Economic Projections, more Fed officials see upside risks to growth—and downside risks to the unemployment rate—than those who see downside risks to the economy. This optimism should translate into a faster pace of policy tightening.
Source: Guggenheim Investments, Federal Reserve Board. Data as of 1.31.2017. *Equal to the number of FOMC participants who see upside risks to their baseline projections minus the number who see downside risks, divided by the total of FOMC participants.
—Brian Smedley, Head of Macroeconomic and Investment Research; Maria Giraldo, CFA, Vice President
This article is distributed for informational purposes only and should not be considered as investing advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. It contains opinions of the authors but not necessarily those of Guggenheim Partners or its subsidiaries. The authors’ opinions are subject to change without notice. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but are not assured as to accuracy. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Investing involves risk. In general, the value of fixed-income securities fall when interest rates rise. High-yield securities present more liquidity and credit risk than investment grade bonds and may be subject to greater volatility. Asset-backed securities, including mortgage-backed securities, may have structures that make their reaction to interest rates and other factors difficult to predict, making their prices volatile and they are subject to liquidity risk. Investments in floating rate senior secured syndicated bank loans and other floating rate securities involve special types of risks, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and prepayment risk. Guggenheim Investments represents the following affiliated investment management businesses of Guggenheim Partners, LLC: Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, LLC, Security Investors, LLC, Guggenheim Funds Investment Advisors, LLC, Guggenheim Funds Distributors, LLC, Guggenheim Real Estate, LLC, GS GAMMA Advisors, LLC, Guggenheim Partners Europe Limited and Guggenheim Partners India Management. ©2017, Guggenheim Partners, LLC. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission of Guggenheim Partners, LLC.
Current conditions could persist for some time, but with a possible recession approximately two years away, the time for caution is approaching.
Investors are coming to terms with the idea that the Fed will keep raising rates because of inflation and economic pressures.
Euphoria at Davos may be a sign that the market melt up may soon begin to cool.
Global CIO Scott Minerd and Head of Macroeconomic and Investment Research Brian Smedley provide context and commentary to complement our recent publication, “Forecasting the Next Recession.”
In his market outlook, Global CIO Scott Minerd discusses the challenges of managing in a market melt up and highlights several charts from his recent piece, “10 Macro Themes to Watch in 2018.”
You are now leaving this website.Guggenheim assumes no responsibility of the content or its accuracy.
Your browser does not support iframes.
2018 Guggenheim Partners, LLC. All rights reserved. Guggenheim, Guggenheim Partners and Innovative Solutions. Enduring Values. are registered trademarks of Guggenheim Capital, LLC.