A 'litmus test' for a looming recession could come next quarter, says an economist who's been predicting a downturn for 18 months

david rosenberg
David Rosenberg is still calling a recession.WealthTrack
  • Veteran economist David Rosenberg is maintaining his bearish call on the US economy.

  • He told CNBC in an interview the fourth quarter of this year would be the "litmus test" for his call.

  • He added a recession typically starts two years after a rate hike cycle begins.

Veteran economist David Rosenberg has been calling a recession for the last 18 months, and he isn't letting the current resilience in the US economy change his mind.

"It hasn't materialized, dot dot dot, yet," Rosenberg told CNBC on Wednesday, in response to his bearish call.

But he maintains a recession is looming.

On Wednesday, the founder and president of Toronto-based Rosenberg Research said a recession typically starts about two years after the beginning of a rate hike cycle — so there's still time for a downturn to hit.

"I think that may be the people that were jumping the gun calling for recession this year were just basically a little too impatient," he added.

Rosenberg said the fourth quarter will be the "litmus test" for his bearish call. A strong credit card issuance has been buoying the economy, but "those are not recurring," he said.

"It's as if, if it doesn't snow in December, then we'll just call off winter," Rosenberg quipped during the interview.

Rosenberg has been warning of a recession from as far back as March 2022, when the US Federal Reserve started its current rate hike cycle to combat high inflation. At the time, he warned there was a 75% chance of the US experiencing a recession by the end of 2022.

His bearish call on the economy contrasts with predictions from some other experts who think the US economy may be able to achieve a "soft landing," thanks to strong spending. This means that the Fed's relentless rate hikes would be able to achieve its goal of taming inflation while not triggering a recession.

However, oil prices have been rising recently and are nearing a key milestone of $100 a barrel, after major producers Saudi Arabia and Russia said they would be extending output cuts.

This could complicate efforts by central banks to bring inflation under control, as they may again be looking at further rate hikes — that could, in turn, hit the economy. Energy is a key input for economic activities, so higher oil prices generally lead to inflation.

The benchmark US West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures were up 0.95% at $94.57 a barrel at 11.11 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Brent crude oil futures were up 0.86% at $97.38 a barrel.

Read the original article on Business Insider