US headed to recession that was ‘totally avoidable,’ chief economist says

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FILE – An American flag flies over the Federal Reserve building on May 4, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(The Hill) – Mohamed El-Erian, Allianz’s chief economic adviser, said on Sunday that the U.S. is heading toward a recession that was “totally avoidable” amid ongoing concerns about inflation and economic stability. 

“I fear that we risk a very high probability of a damaging recession that was totally avoidable,” El-Erian told CBS’ “Face the Nation,” arguing that the Federal Reserve has made mistakes that will “go down in the history books.” 

“One is mischaracterizing inflation as transitory. By that, they meant it is temporary, it’s reversible, don’t worry about it. That was mistake number one. And then mistake number two, when they finally recognized that inflation was persistent and high. They didn’t act. They didn’t act in a meaningful way,” El-Erian said.  

The Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates to try to tamp down inflation as worries about a potential recession grow. 

The United Nations last week warned of a global recession as international economies take action to curb inflation. A survey released last week found that nearly 9 in 10 global CEOs expect a recession in the next year.

“Even [Federal Reserve] Chair Powell has gone from looking for a soft landing to soft-ish landing to now talking about pain. And that is the problem. That is the cost of a Federal Reserve being late. Not only does it have to overcome inflation, but it has to restore its credibility,” El-Erian said of the economic institution. 

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