Macro

(New York)

One the biggest and most conservative asset managers on the street has just put out an ominous warning to investors. Vanguard has just told investors that a near term recession (by 2020) is looking more likely. The asset manager is worried about the flattening yield curve and rising credit risk for sub-investment grade bonds. Vanguard says the odds of a recession in the next six months are 10%, and 30-40% by the end of 2020. The comments are unusual for Vanguard, who has stayed positive on the economy and is usually very conservative in calling markets and the economy.


FINSUM: Our own view is that the chances of a recession by the end of 2020 are much higher than what Vanguard is calling for.

(New York)

There are a lot of bear market and recession indicators to make an investor nervous right now. There are also a wealth pf positive points. However, one area that really caught our eye was an industrial commodity that says a lot about the direction of the economy. Copper is in the middle of a big fall, and according to the Financial Times, the metal “is telling us not to worry a bit: the metal is telling us to panic”. Copper is down about 18% this year, and most of that fall is since May. Copper is used in a wide range of industrial applications across all regions in the world, it is utterly ubiquitous, so demand for it is a good leading indicator of economic performance.


FINSUM: This seems like a worrying sign, but we must say that some of the loss could be because of the trade war with China. That said, the sharp drop in prices is a very worrying sign.

(New York)

The Wall Street Journal has put out an article painting an interesting, and perhaps realistic, view of how the trade war might play out. Their argument is essentially that the market itself will stop any trade war from becoming too serious. The WSJ says it best, “If the Trump trade war starts to squeeze economic growth, markets will react badly. When this happens, the impatient American president will have no choice but to declare victory, call off the war, and limit the damage”.


FINSUM: We tend to think this view is probably correct. That said, these kind of tariff wars can have unintended consequences that could make the damage more extensive and permanent than it is currently easy to foresee.

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