December 28, 12:00 pm EST
Last year this time, as we ended 2016, and looked ahead to 2017, it was clear that the dominant theme for the year ahead would be Trumponomics.
We had a global economy that had been propped up by central banks for the better part of eight years, and growth that was proving to be dangerously slow — with growing risks of a stall and another downward spiral.
That was clear in the summer of 2016, when global interest rates started to diving deeply into negative territory. That meant people were happy to pay governments for the security of parking their money in government bonds.
There was a clear lack of optimism about economic conditions and what the future may look like.
That changed with Trump’s election and his commitment to launch an assault on economic stagnation.
It flipped the switch on the lack of optimism that had been paralyzing business activity. And that optimism has led to a hotter economy this year than most expected, despite the lack of substantial policy action (which we didn’t get until later in the year).
So what will next year look like?
As we discussed yesterday, we have tax cuts that should drive corporate earnings and warrant another double digit year for the stock market (close to 20%).
And that doesn’t take into account the impact to corporate earnings from personal tax cuts, a healthier job market with employees that can command higher wages and companies that are confident to take cash and invest in new projects. So, by design, we have incentives coming into the economy for 2018 that will boost demand. And another pillar of Trumponomics, infrastructure, will be the focus early next year, which will fuel more jobs, more economic activity.
All of this and the Fed is projecting just 2.5% growth next year. And Wall Street and the economist community tend to anchor their forecasts on the Fed. But the Fed doesn’t have a very good record in forecasting – especially in recent history.
They overestimated growth and the outlook throughout much of the recovery period. Instead we got stagnation.
But in the past 18 months or so, they flipped the script. They became the “new normal” believers that we’re in for long-term slower growth.
With that, they underestimated the outlook for 2017, even with the prospects of fiscal stimulus coming (they ignored it, and continue to). They were looking for 2.1% growth. It will be closer to 3% for the full year 2017. And next year, while they are looking for 2.5%, we could have something closer to 4%. That’s my bet.
Remember, we’ve talked about the fundamental backdrop, with the addition of fiscal stimulus, that could have us in the early stages of an economic boom period. I think we’ll feel that, for the first time in a long time, in 2018.
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