The current situation for the U.S. consumer is generally upbeat. Unemployment is at cyclical lows, the housing market continues to advance, consumer confidence rests near all-time highs and many households will get a tax break this year. The Fed, led by new Fed Chair Jerome Powell, felt confident enough to raise rates in March. However, it would be remiss not to mention recent volatility in the stock market, largely driven by escalating trade rhetoric and a potential backlash against major tech firms, that has injected some uncertainty into the picture. While the tariffs put in place to date by the U.S. and China look set to have moderate impacts on the global economy, the current situation is tenuous and could spiral further. A full-blown trade war risks being a trigger for the next recession. Up until this point, President Trump has mostly been lauded as pro-business. Given recent developments, as well as the recent departure of several key staff members and their replacement with more hardline figures, one wonders if the U.S. may face an inflection point. At best, the outlook has become much cloudier since the start of the year.
Source : CBRE Global Investors