Hi. This is Carl Tannenbaum, Chief Economist for Northern Trust. And here is a quick-fire series of questions that clients are asking most often about the economy.
First, the economic data has softened quite a bit since the beginning of the year. How concerned should we be?
Well, not altogether too concerned. We did see some softening in consumer spending and hiring. But weather may have played a role, and other seasonal factors are holding it down. I think we'll make up for some of that during the balance of this year.
Second, will the US and China make a trade deal?
Well, this is a question we've been asking persistently. The good news is that there have been a lot of negotiations, and that is better than confrontation. The issues are complicated. But I think both sides are motivated to make a deal, especially China, whose economy seems to be struggling.
Third, the tone from the world central bankers has certainly changed over the last few months. What do we expect during the balance of the year?
The answer is, not much. Because the economic data is more uncertain and perhaps softer, central banks are certainly not inclined to raise interest rates. In fact, many of them are looking to take steps to make sure that there is a floor under the economy that keeps us out of recession.
And then, finally, are we done with the budget battles in the Congress?
Well, we have a little bit of peace. There are going to be a few months here where we won't hear much about it. But as we get closer to the late summer, there are battles over the debt ceiling, also the outline of the new year's budget, and the battle lines are being drawn. The drama should be quite interesting to watch.
And that's The View From Here.