Signals Logo

The Constantly Looming Recession

In recent years, with central banks around the globe battling against surging inflation rates through aggressive interest rate hikes, predictions of an imminent recession have grown more intense. Notably, the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe have seen interest rates catapult to levels that haven’t been witnessed in two decades. Yet, the widely anticipated economic downturn continues to be an elusive phenomenon. This article sheds light on three vital reasons that explain why the recession is akin to a phantom, and why interest rates might still need to ascend further to curb the persistent inflationary pressures.

Reason 1: Consumers’ Fortified Financial Reserves

The first reason is deeply rooted in the large reservoirs of savings that consumers have accumulated, courtesy of the extensive government support during the pandemic. Normally, elevated interest rates correlate with augmented borrowing costs, which typically constrain consumer spending. However, this conventional economic wisdom doesn’t hold in the current scenario. The reason is that the trillions of dollars in government assistance during the pandemic have acted as a financial buffer for consumers. With an ample cash cushion to rely upon, consumers have been able to maintain their spending patterns despite the rising costs of borrowing. This consumer spending, which forms a substantial component of GDP, contributes to keeping the economy buoyant, thereby staving off a recession.

Reason 2: The Robustness of Government Expenditures

Governments around the world have not been shy about opening their coffers to stimulate the economy. This spending spree is not only massive but is also focused on long-term projects. To illustrate this point, let’s consider the United States. The US Inflation Reduction Act, signed last year, has allocated close to $500 billion towards clean energy and climate change initiatives in the form of new spending and tax breaks. Furthermore, in late 2021, the US government also approved a whopping $1 trillion infrastructure bill. As consumer spending might eventually take a hit due to higher interest rates, this colossal government spending serves to counterbalance and potentially even nullify any dampening effect on demand, thereby assisting in keeping the economy afloat.

Reason 3: The Subtlety of Real Interest Rates

The nominal interest rates may appear stratospheric, but when we pierce through the surface and adjust these rates for inflation, the picture changes significantly. Real interest rates in the United States have only gingerly nudged into the positive realm recently. In contrast, Europe still exhibits negative real interest rates, despite the European Central Bank raising its rates to a significant 3.5% in June. This implies that, in real terms, the actual cost of borrowing is still relatively low. As a result, nominal interest rates may have to soar even higher before exerting enough pressure to jolt these economies into a recessionary state.

Final Thoughts

In summation, the conjunction of fortified consumer financial reserves, vigorous government spending, and the deceptive nature of real interest rates serves to keep the much-speculated recession at bay. Nevertheless, it is important for policymakers to tread with caution and vigilance, as the economic landscape is continuously evolving. Balancing the need to tame inflation with ensuring sustained economic growth is a challenging task, and may necessitate further calibrations in interest rates as circumstances unfold.




Get Daily Briefing Update

With our daily briefing updates, you can rest assured that you are making decisions based on the latest, most trustworthy information available.

Affiliate Application

Fill out the form below, and we will get you set up to start making money! 


Contact Information
Social Accounts
How much time do you have to do this?