Global markets largely took a tumble on Monday, with worries about a possible U.S. recession. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was was down 3%. The Shanghai composite was off almost 2%, as was Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, with the Shenzhen composite down 0.9%.
European stocks had dropped on Friday because of a batch of bad regional economic news. Shares continued to drop on Monday, but losses moderated.
Another concern on Friday was news that long-term government bond interest rates were below those of short-term bonds. The condition called a yield curve inversion. It means investors are uncertain about the future and, instead, focusing more on short-term strategies, creating a lack of confidence that often proceeds, but doesn’t guarantee, a recession.
In all, the effect of all the bad news worries investors. There’s been growing pessimism for some time, as no economy ever grows without stop or setback. In the mid December, a global survey of chief financial officers found an overwhelming majority that expected a recession by 2020 at the very latest.
And a new survey released on Monday by the National Association for Business Economics found that U.S. economists expect that real growth will drop from 2.9% in December to 2.4% in 2019 and 2% in 2020.
The panel, though, was less bullish on an actual recession. They saw the odds of a 2019 recession of about 20% and one by the end of 2020 at 35%. The Federal Reserve’s softening of talk about interest rate hikes back in January were the reason.