The latest GDP growth number of 4.1% in Q2 could well be an anomaly, although quite a few bankers and analysts are pointing to continued fair-weather. The latest thing that investors should be concerned about is a comment by JPMorgan’s CEO Jamie Diamonds who forecasted on Monday that 10-year Treasuries will rise to 4%-5% shortly. The higher interest rates are not good for the overall economy.
While most things look positive, there are quite a few head winds facing the US economy. The most serious of them are President Trump’s tariffs, which are already hurting various industries. The tariffs on steel and aluminum are hurting the automobile industry. The tariffs on soybeans are affecting farmers in states that voted for Trump. There is a good likelihood that other agricultural goods will be affected as well.
Another headwind is the downturn in housing sales. Sales of new homes and existing homes have dropped quite a bit across the country. Moreover, construction of new homes is down, which is certain to impact employment.
Slower economic growth is not only hitting the US. Some of the EU countries are also feeling the cold winds of declining activity. So far they are modest, but they are being felt. Germany just announced a drop in factory orders and construction spending. The UK reported that home sales are falling in both London and elsewhere in the country.
In the UK much of the negative reporting is linked to Brexit talk. The degree to which analysts see an economic downturn most of the blame is placed on Brexit. No concrete decisions have been made on the March 2019 move. Indeed, the situation is so bad that talk of a second referendum is heating up. So far the reaction from the EU countries has been muted.