It isn’t one big news story, yet; and it may never be, but… Several stories are combining to worry some in the financial markets. Rather than one significant story setting off a recession, several smaller stories may combine to create a similar cascade. Japan’s GDP fell 0.3%. Germany’s GDP fell 0.2%. The EU only grew 0.3% instead of the previous 0.5%. The UK may finally have a Brexit plan, but any improvement is likely from a reduction in uncertainty rather than an increase in economics. Italy continues to grow, but it is doing so by letting debt become 2.4% of GDP. Meanwhile, oil dropped from almost $75 a barrel to about $56 a barrel in about a month. As with most upsets, scapegoats are as popular as true culprits and the real threats are usually only identified after the events. Current candidates are the trade wars, natural disasters, and a repeat of previously dysfunctional processes. Any recession may also be a self-fulfilling prophecy as ‘everyone knows’ that recessions are regularly occurring after recoveries, and that this recovery has been longer than usual. In the meantime, this is a good time to watch, listen, and if necessary, act.
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