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Next US recession could arrive in 2018, says LGIM

James Carrick

Referee about to show a yellow card at a football match

James CarrickIn today’s Fundamentals briefing, LGIM Economist James Carrick (photo, right) looks at the US economic cycle and the impact of corporate profits, bad loans and credit conditions on overall economic growth, concluding there are signs a US recession is getting closer and could arrive in 2018.

The engine of global growth, the US economy has been growing steadily since 2009 and its short term outlook appears reasonably benign.

“Our lead indicator points to stronger growth through the rest of 2016, as government spending accelerates and the drag from weaker capital expenditure in the energy sector fades,” says James.

However, the cycle could turn as the crisis in emerging economies and the collapse in oil investment weigh on economic growth. This, combined with a stronger dollar and a tight labour market, has pushed US profits lower.

Furthermore, rising US interest rates are impairing indebted companies’ ability to service their loans and banks are tightening credit conditions, which could potentially become self-reinforcing.

“Looking beyond the next few quarters, we are worried the credit cycle is turning from a virtuous circle to a vicious one. And like a snowball rolling down a hill, it will become larger and more powerful over time.”

With the credit cycle turning but core inflation starting to rise thanks to the tight labour market and a reduced drag from lower commodity prices, the US Federal Reserve could face a dilemma in 2017.

“This is the same problem central banks faced in 2007,” says James. “If they hiked rates, they exacerbated the credit crunch; but if they left rates unchanged, inflation would have got out of control.”


Download the full four-page Fundamentals briefing here (PDF, 606 KB)


For further information please contact:

Nicolette Botbol

Nicolette Botbol
Media Relations Manager, LGIM

t: +44 (0) 20 3124 4355



Notes to editors:


Legal & General Investment Management is one of Europe’s largest asset managers and a major global investor, with total assets of £757 billion*. We work with a wide range of global clients, including pension schemes, sovereign wealth funds, fund distributors and retail investors.

Throughout the past 40 years we have built our business through understanding what matters most to our clients and transforming this insight into valuable, accessible investment products and solutions. We provide investment expertise across the full spectrum of asset classes including fixed income, equities, commercial property and cash. Our capabilities range from index-tracking and active strategies to liquidity management and liability-based risk management solutions.

*as at 31 December 2015, including derivative positions and advisory assets.