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S&P raises probability of 2019 U.S. recession to 20-25%

Economists at ratings agency S&P Global raised the probability of a U.S. recession in 2019 to 20–25% on Wednesday, in large part because of the flattening U.S. Treasury yield curve.

Flashback: Its previous assessment was 15–20%, 3 months ago.

"Although economic indicators continue to point to a sustained economic expansion, heightened investor concerns over global economic developments led to market volatility and disruptions late last year, leaving a mixed picture for the second oldest expansion in U.S. history."
— Beth Ann Bovino, U.S. chief economist at S&P Global

Between the lines: S&P Global releases a quarterly publication that examines 10 leading indicators of near-term economic growth. Two indicators turned negative this quarter for the first time since mid-2017, when the ratings agency's economics group first began to look at these metrics.

  • "Financial conditions have eased in recent weeks, stemming from a significantly more dovish communication by the Fed," Bovino said. "If the easing persists, the quantitative assessment will likely decline in the coming months."

As S&P raises its U.S. recession worries, a new survey shows European money managers are growing increasingly wary of a global recession.

The bottom line: Almost 30% of respondents to Bank of America Merrill Lynch's latest survey of European money managers said a worldwide economic contraction was their biggest concern, the strongest consensus for any single risk since June 2017.