While the technical definition of a recession traditionally is two quarters of contraction or negative growth, I think that definition is frankly irrelevant given where we are today.
You simply have to look at the trends in consumer confidence, which are ultra-low in many western countries, from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US. And what is driving this is the concern about inflation – which is why central banks are jaw-boning their ability to get inflation under control. Quite simply, people’s money is disappearing fast, and they’re worried it could get a lot worse.
By the way, pause for a moment to ask why a 2-3% inflation target is used – it have become a convention, but there is little to explain why that number is correct. The truth is, that number was grabbed from thin air years ago, and has taken on a life of its own.
Note that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists put the risk of such a slump in the US in the next year at 30%. Others put the probability considerably higher, with the risks building beyond that time frame.
But for many it already feels like it’s here.
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