The outlook for the United States is uncertain.
The US economy weakened in the first half of 2019 following a very strong performance last year and we expect it will slow further in 2020 for a number of reasons:
- Long term bond yields in the US remain historically low, reflecting growing uncertainty about the continuation of the current 10-year expansion cycle;
- The benefits of fiscal stimulus is fading;
- Inflation is lessening; and
- Financial indicators are showing signs of fatigue.
We also see nervousness in the business community about the economic impact of the US administration’s trade policies.
The full cost of protectionism has not yet been fully felt by the US economy. But without policy changes, this inward turn will likely weaken domestic consumption, lessen the international competitiveness of US firms and result in domestic market declines.
Economic conditions in Europe and Japan are weakening.
Likewise, in Europe and Japan, economic conditions have softened.
In Japan, the slowdown in global auto and electronics sectors is hindering growth.
In Europe, rising political uncertainty has hurt business confidence.
In these economies, we gauge that any upside to growth in the medium term will have to come from external demand sources.