Nothing has changed
As I emerge relaxed, and slightly sunburnt, from a week on Ibiza’s still-balmy beaches, I am met with news that the world is going to hell, in a hurry. The dreadful September PMIs, and the soggy ISM headlines in the U.S., seem to have been the key catalyst for a reversal in sentiment. These data appear to have crystalised two bearish stories for markets. First, the trade wars are now a serious issue for the global and U.S. economy, and Mr. Trump either won’t, or doesn’t have the ability, to de-escalate the stand-off. At the very least, the assumption that the White House will be forced to blink into the next year’s election is now under threat. It is now just as likely that the U.S. president will double down on the conflict as a strategy to seek re-election. Secondly, the otherwise resilient consumer and services sectors are now infected by the slowdown in manufacturing and trade. Taken together these points translate rather obviously into a rising threat of a global slowdown, or even a recession. I can’t refute the fact that these two claims are looking increasingly, and worryingly, accurate. For starters, the data clearly are deteriorating, with the most recent alarm bells coming from the hitherto solid U.S. economy.
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