A U.S. slowdown doesn’t mean recession or financial crisis


U.S. economic growth may cool off but that doesn’t mean there’s a crisis ahead, widely followed economist Mohamed El-Erian told CNBC on Tuesday.

Economists have been forecasting a slower second half of 2019 and that’s led some to some fear about a recession by the end of this year or next year.

“This concept that a slowdown in the U.S. means recession or means a financial crisis — that’s just wrong,” said El-Erian, chief economic advisor at Allianz.

“What happened in 2008 was very special. It’s because the banking system was at risk. And the minute you put the banking system at risk, you put the payments and settlement system at risk. We’re not there,” he told “The Exchange.”

According to the latest CNBC Fed Survey in December, respondents saw a 23 percent chance of recession in the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, nearly half of chief financial officers surveyed by Duke University in December said they expect a recession by the end of 2019.

El-Erian said while there may be small pockets of economic weakness, overall the economy is doing well.

In fact, the latest employment report bears that out, he said. Nonfarm payrolls surged by 312,000 in December, far surpassing expected growth of 176,000.

However, El-Erian is concerned about what the rest of the world can do to the U.S. economy. He’s specifically worried about China and Germany, where “scary” data on industrial production was released Tuesday.

“U.S. leadership globally is really important because you’ve got to get other countries to focus on pro-growth policies,” he said.

This isn’t the first time El-Erian has dismissed recession fears. He told “Squawk Box” in December that he was “stunned” by all the talk. He also warned that the concern over a recession could actually cause one.

“We’ve got to be careful because we can talk ourselves into a recession. And that’s how bad technicals become bad economics,” El-Erian said at the time.

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