Are we headed to a recession? Where experts look for answers

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(NewsNation) — Deutsche Bank has warned it’s members of a “major recession” coming to the United States soon amid rising interest rates and inflation hitting consumers hard across the United States

The bank said the Federal Reserve’s effort to lower inflation by raising interest rates would spark a recession.

Not everyone is as pessimistic as the German bank, however.

Fox Business reporter Shibani Joshi told NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” on Wednesday that there are many factors economists look at to determine if a recession is looming. While many of those factors do indeed appear worrisome, she said, the signs of a recession aren’t yet crystal clear.

Tech stocks are falling, which is indeed an indication that consumers are cutting back, she said.

“In terms of what consumers are doing, we heard about Netflix and people cutting the cord from Netflix last week because they are paying too much for food and gas prices, so they are stepping back on things like discretionary spending,” Joshi said.

On Wednesday the stock market had small gains after taking a tumble earlier in the week. The S&P 500 rose 8.76 points to 4,183.96, while the Dow added 61.75 points to 33,301.93. The Nasdaq slipped 1.81 points to 12,488.93.

The S&P 500 saw most of a midday rally evaporate and wound up with a gain of just 0.2%. The Nasdaq ended just barely in the red after the tech stock rebound petered out. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.2%.

The indexes rallied to a strong finish late Monday, only to slump again Tuesday. They are all down 1.5% or more so far this week.

Facebook parent Meta said Wednesday that advertising revenue seems to be taking a step back, an indication to Joshi on what is happening with corporate spending. She said signs are positive, but just “not as good” as investors predicted.

“All of these indications give us this mixed picture in terms of what investors and the experts (predict) in terms of a recession,” Joshi said. “We have a mixed bag. We have some positivity, we don’t see any back-stepping in terms of profitability, but what we are seeing is shrinking and this lack of meeting expectations.”

Home prices are skyrocketing, the average home price is at $375,000, inflation is at it’s highest point in 40 years and the labor market is “red hot,” Joshi said. These are all also indicators a recession could be on the horizon.

“When we see certain data points or indicators, leading indicators, headed a certain way or pointing a certain direction, that gives us a better indication of a recession coming our way.”

Leading indicators, or “tea leaves” experts look at to forecast recessions are also coming in to play as people wait on pins and needles to see what happens with the economy.

The consumer price index, food and gas prices in particular, are key for experts when trying to predict if a recession is coming. Food costs are up 8.8% from a year ago and energy costs have risen 32%.

“That weighs on consumers because consumers account for, depending upon where you look, 60-75% of economic growth,” Joshi said. “So if they’re not spending on things like Netflix (or) going to the movies and taking vacation, that has a negative impact on the economy.”

The purchasing managers index gives experts a sense of what is happening with manufacturing and the corporate sector, and that, too, is beginning to slow.

“Not negative, not in worrisome territory, but it gives us a sense that even businesses are starting to feel the pinch,” Joshi said.

The yield curve is another leading indicator being looked at, Joshi said. When short-term interest rates are higher or riskier and you get more money for lending money for a shorter amount of time than a longer amount of time, that is an inverted yield curve, she said.

“That has popped up on the radar screen a couple of times and that is what is causing economists, experts and investors out there to say ‘Woah, is a recession on it’s way?'” Joshi said. “We’re getting these data points that are correlated with previous recessions.”

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