The US economy could plunge into recession before next spring if the US-China trade war continues to escalate, Morgan Stanley’s chief economist says.
If President Donald Trump follows through with his threat to slap 25% tariffs on a further $300 billion of imports from China, and Beijing retaliates, America’s economy could enter recession — defined as two successive quarters of economic decline — within nine months, Chetan Ahya said in a recent note to clients seen by Markets Insider.
Trade fears may already be depressing investment flows. Global imports of capital goods fell by 3% in the first quarter of this year — its lowest level in more than three years — while growth in global fixed investment slowed by 1.3 percentage points to 3.4%, Ahya told the Financial Times.
“Recent conversations with investors have reinforced the sense that markets are underestimating the impact of trade tensions,” Ahya wrote. “Investors are generally of the view that the trade dispute could drag on for longer, but they appear to be overlooking its potential impact on the global macro outlook.”
Separately, JPMorgan pegs the chances of a US recession in the second half of this year at 40%, up from 25% a month ago, according to Bloomberg. Economists at Goldman Sachs, expecting the Trump administration to impose 10% tariffs on virtually all imports from China and on all imports from Mexico, lowered their second-half US growth forecast by about 0.5 percentage points to 2%, according to a research note.
International trade tensions have risen in recent weeks. After accusing China of sabotaging a prospective trade agreement, Trump hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, blacklisted Huawei as a trading partner over espionage concerns, and began preparations to extend tariffs to virtually all US imports from China.
China has retaliated by raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of US products, threatening the US supply of rare-earth metals, appearing to test its ‘nuclear option’ of selling US Treasurys, and announcing an investigation into FedEx.
The Trump administration has targeted other countries too. It plans to impose…
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