Citigroup raises global recession odds to 50% as consumer demand softens

Citigroup now sees even odds the globe enters a recession, a higher probability than most Wall Street economists, citing evidence showing the consumer is starting to pull back on spending. “Central banks are hiking policy rates with increasing vigor in their fight against inflation, and the global consumer’s demand for goods looks to be softening,” wrote the team led by Nathan Sheets in a note Wednesday. “We conclude that central banks face a daunting challenge as they seek to wrestle inflation down.” “The experience of history indicates that disinflation often carries meaningful costs for growth, and we see the aggregate probability of recession as now approaching 50%,” the note added. Citi cites a fall in container shipping costs in China and retailers’ complaints about rising inventories as evidence of the consumer starting to curb spending. The drop in consumer demand, along with persistent severe supply shocks, are decreasing the chances of a soft landing by central banks. If these supply shocks ease relatively soon, then the globe could dodge a recession, Citi said. Citi is the latest Wall Street bank to raise its recession odds. Goldman earlier this week raised the probability of a recession for the U.S. in the next year to 30%, up from 15%. However, Goldman sees about a 50% chance of a recession in two years. The bank cut its GDP forecasts and raised its inflation forecasts. U.S. GDP growth will be 2.3% this year and 1.7% in the next, according to Citi, down from 2.6% and 2.1% previously forecast. It sees overall global economic growth of 3% this year and 2.8% next year. “The best case scenario is a ‘soft landing’ with a slight rise in the unemployment rate, but risks of a more significant downturn are rising,” wrote Citi of U.S. conditions.

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