Market Observations

Economic & Market Observations: Years of Living Dangerously

Market Observations White Paper
February 2020

Authors & Contributors

Chief Economist Vincent Reinhart considers new, old, and potential risks in his outlook for the global economy and the Fed. 

What a year 2019 was. There were enough risk events to fill a fretful decade, including multiple rounds of tariffs, a military stare-down in the Middle East, expressions of nuclear ambitions by states hostile to US interests, an impeachment of the US president, the threat of a government shutdown or debt-ceiling standoff, and the possibility of a disorderly UK exit from the European Union. Many were expressed in a rancorous tone if not outright incivility.

Framing an economic outlook based on assumptions about political events is always fraught in a year of living dangerously. At points in 2019, it seemed possible that our world view would fall as flat as the character played by Linda Hunt at the end of the 1982 movie of the same name.