Leading financial experts are starting to say the “R” word more frequently, warning that the risk of a recession in the next two years is increasing. In an interview with CBS Face the Nation, Goldman Sachs Senior Chairman Lloyd Blankfein categorized the risk factor as “very, very high.”
A recession occurs when the country sees negative economic growth for at least two consecutive quarters.
“It’s definitely a risk,” Blankfein said. “If I were running a big company, I would be very prepared for it. If I was a consumer, I’d prepare for it. But it’s not baked in the cake.”
Blankfein said the Federal Reserve had a “narrow path” to avoid a recession while tamping down on inflation but noted that the tools the Fed can use to do so are powerful and hard to finely tune. In the past, Fed Chair Jerome Powell has called the tools blunt, which don’t allow for precise economic manipulation.
Goldman Sachs is still on the record saying the probability of a recession over the next two years is around 35%, but it is downgrading economic growth numbers over that time. New estimates from the financial institution now pencil in 2.4% growth in 2022, down from 2.6% prior, and it has slashed 2023’s estimate from 2.2% down to 1.6%.
Financial institutions aren’t just souring on economic activity but markets as well. Investors are not convinced markets have hit bottom after the S&P 500 dipped around 17% from January’s high, its second worst start to a year in history.
Morgan Stanley’s Mike Wilson is bearish, noting the dip could double and that “the risk of a recession has gone up materially.”