Darius sat down with Chris Berg recently to discuss the outlook for asset markets, the probability of a recession, the Fourth Turning, and more. 

If you missed the interview, here are three takeaways from the conversation that have significant implications for your portfolio: 

1. The US Economy Is Likely to Avoid A Recession In 2024 If Productivity Growth Remains Above Trend

Productivity, as measured by output per hour in the US labor market, is showing robust growth at 2.7% year-over-year, surpassing the 10-year, 30-year, and 50-year averages of approximately 1.7%.

To achieve a soft landing, at least two of the following three conditions are typically required:

  1. Sustained at-trend or above-trend productivity growth
  2. Rate cuts
  3. At-trend or above-trend fiscal spending

Presently, productivity is above-trend, money markets have effectively already priced in rate cuts, and we are likely to see above-trend fiscal spending in the current election year.

In the event of a recession, our analysis suggests that it is unlikely to materialize until 2025 at the earliest.

2. We Believe The No-Landing Scenario Is Likely to Become The Modal Outcome Over The Next One to Two Quarters

While a soft landing signifies achieving at or below-trend growth, facilitating the return of inflation to the Fed’s 2% target, a no-landing scenario entails sustaining growth at or above trend levels, preventing disinflation from bottoming at 2%. Conversely, a hard landing is a scenario where the economy enters into a recession.

In the past four months, there has been a notable decrease in the likelihood of a hard landing. Meanwhile, the probability of a no-landing scenario is on the rise, although a soft landing remains the modal outcome for now.

However, we anticipate that the no-landing scenario is likely to become the modal outcome over the next one to two quarters. This expectation stems from our belief that nominal real economic growth is poised to surprise to the upside through the first half of this year across major economies worldwide.

3. The Fourth Turning Will Have Significant Implications For Investors’ Portfolios

Last fall, our team performed an empirical deep dive on the Fourth Turning, a theory sparked by Niel Howe, mentor and former colleague of 42 Macro CEO Darius Dale. While there may be some erosion in our reserve currency status during the Fourth Turning, we maintain the belief that the United States is unlikely to lose its position as the world’s reserve currency.

Moreover, we could experience a strengthening dollar as lenders and borrowers around the world favor financing in other currencies at the margins, resulting in a continuation of the underlying dollar short squeeze that has been ongoing since 2014. If we do, it would likely necessitate the Federal Reserve to counteract through measures such as currency debasement and financial repression.

Regardless of your outlook on asset markets in the long term, we emphasize the importance of focusing on the current and upcoming Market Regime as the optimal path to navigate through these growing uncertainties.

That’s a wrap! 

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