While it is too early to get a firm assessment on the impact of rising oil prices and Middle East tensions, we remain encouraged by the incoming economic data and the potential for reduced trade tensions.
Oil price spikes by themselves do not cause recession, and we will be watching business and consumer confidence and other indicators closely to further assess the impact of the oil price spike.
|MSCI Emerging Markets||1.9||8.7||3.8|
|10-year U.S. Treasury||1.9||2.72||2.41|
|30-year U.S. Treasury||2.37||3.02||2.74|
Source: Janney ISG, Bloomberg. Data as of 9/13/19.
Key to the oil price outlook is the length of time that the lost Saudi production (5.7 million barrels per day) is offline and the magnitude of the rise in oil prices. Meanwhile, the U.S. consumer is in very good shape with a high 7.7% savings rate that
should help withstand temporarily higher oil prices. Stay tuned for further assessments.
U.S. Economic News Remains Mostly Positive
Last week brought key U.S. economic news from the leading indicator, small business optimism, consumer prices and sentiment, and retail sales. This data remains consistent with a healthy consumer and further economic growth.
On a smoothed year-over-year basis, retail sales increased 3.7%, the fastest pace since last November. Discretionary retail sales improved and is showing notable improvement this year. This reflects underlying consumer strength, which reduces the risk of recession in the near-term, despite some weakness in other economic indicators.
In addition, the Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rebounded with both current conditions and expectations improving. While sentiment is off its cycle peak, it is still elevated, and bodes well for consumer spending growth this year.
The August NFIB Small Business Optimism Index saw its second decline in the past three months. The index peaked a year ago, and while it is still high by historical standards, it shows that business sentiment has deteriorated—with fewer respondents expecting the economy to improve in the next six months.
While the OECD U.S. Composite Leading Indicator (CLI) continued to suggest weaker-than-average economic growth, it does not yet imply a recession.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped 15,000 last week, the most in four months, to 204,000, while the four-week average of claims fell to 212,500 - hovering near its lowest level since 1969. The jobs market remains as tight as ever, with businesses reluctant to lay off workers, despite some signs of softer economic growth. Continued solid labor demand reduces the risk of recession in the near-term.
Growth Continues to Ease in Largest OECD Economies
The OECD Composite leading indicators (CLIs), designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity relative to trend six to nine months ahead, continue to anticipate easing growth momentum in the United States and the euro area as a whole, particularly
in Germany. However, the CLIs continue to signal stable growth momentum in the OECD area as a whole.
In the United Kingdom, for which large margins of error persist due to Brexit uncertainty, stable growth remains the assessment. In Japan and Italy, the CLIs continue to point to stabilizing growth. Among major emerging economies, stable growth remains the assessment for Brazil, Russia and China. However, signs of easing growth are emerging in India.
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