Someone seems to have hit the emergency button at the Fed, as even though the central bank said that everything was just fine with the American economy just a few weeks and months ago, the situation has currently escalated into a full-blown panic mode.
On Thursday, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve has called an ‘emergency’ meeting for Monday, April 11. That by itself is already very surprising, but a lot can be explained after looking at the most recent publication of the Atlanta Fed. The results of the forecasted GDP of the Atlanta Fed, should push a lot of people and investors into a depression. Just eight weeks ago, the Atlanta Fed forecasted GDP growth of approximately 2.5%, which would’ve been a very healthy growth rate, and even on March 11, the Fed was still expecting the GDP to grow by 2.3%.
Source: GDPnow, through Atlanta Fed
But since then, everything started to go downhill. In just four weeks time, the Atlanta Fed has revised its GDP growth rate from 2.3% to just the 0.1%, which means are basically at the tipping point between a growing economy and the first signs of a new recession. Whatever the final outcome will be, it is now pretty clear that the economy in the United States is stalling. And the rate at which the economy seems to be crumbling is really terrifying.
Just two weeks ago we started to warn you for this, as a corporate profits are going down, and the increases in EPS were mainly boosted by the companies’ share buyback programs and not by higher net profits. We were also very worried to see that a lot of companies are overspending on share buybacks, rather than strengthening their balance sheets and we were afraid this would return into the spaces like a boomerang.
This also seems to be confirmed by the Money Flow Index of the S&P index. The last time we have reached an 'overbought' status on that indicator, the S&P fell by 15% just a few weeks later. Will we re-experience a similar sell-off now?
So what will the Federal Reserve do now? With these revised GDP estimates, there is absolutely no way the Federal Reserve will be able to hike the interest rate by four times this year, and even the revised target of two times will be a bridge too far. In fact, it’s now pretty likely the Fed won’t be able to push through any rate increase in the current calendar year, as it’s now pretty clear the American economy cannot support a rate hike.
But it does look like the market is convinced that situation is really bad right now, considering the Bank of America has recently released a piece of research claiming investors have been extremely bullish lately. Equity funds have seen a cash inflow of in excess of $5 billion in the past few weeks, so it looks like investors are either denying the Penn State of the American economy, or are relying on the Federal Reserve posting a new policy and forget about any rate hikes this year.
It used to be Europe that was the ‘sick man’ of the world economy, but with the depressing outlook from the Atlanta Fed, the situation seems to be changing right now and feared ‘R-word’ is popping up again.
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