A recent survey found that top business executives believe a recession will hit the U.S. economy in early 2023 amid high inflation, historically high gas prices, and the Federal Reserve’s shift in monetary policy.
About 68 percent of chief financial officers who were surveyed by CNBC believe a recession will take place in early 2023, and no CFO forecast a recession taking place later that the second half of that year. No CFO, meanwhile, believes that the economy will avoid a recession, the survey found.
The survey found that more than 40 percent of CFOs believe inflation, which stood at 8.3 percent in April, is the top external risk to their business. Another 23 percent believed that the Federal Reserve policies, which include a recent raising of interest rates, are the biggest risk factor. More CFOs said that supply chain disruptions and the conflict in Ukraine are their No. 1 external risk.
The Fed raised rates by 0.5 percent in May, amounting to the largest increase since May 2000, in a bid to curb price pressures. In March, the Fed raised rates by 0.25 percent from near-0 percent levels.
CNBC’s survey revealed that 77 percent of CFOs believe the Dow Jones will drop to about 30,000, or more than 8 percent of Thursday’s current level. That would also be an 18 percent decline from its 2022 high.
The bleak picture painted by the survey comes as top business leaders have, for months, issued warnings about a possible economic downturn.
Former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein told CBS News in mid-May that Americans should be prepared for an economic recession.
“It’s definitely a risk,” Sachs said. “If I were running a big company, I would be very prepared for it. If I was a consumer, I’d be prepared for it, but it’s not baked in the cake.” And some of the poorest Americans will endure the worst effects of both inflation and the recession, noting that there is a “very, very high risk factor” for both.
“It’s going to be hard for people to have savings,” Blankfein said. “But [if] they already have savings they’re not going to necessarily increase it quickly because of inflation. But they’re starting in a much better place than we were then.”
And last week, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon again warned of a looming economic downturn on the horizon.
“You know, I said there’s storm clouds but I’m going to change it … it’s a hurricane,” he said during a financial conference in New York City. But nobody knows whether it will be a small hurricane “a minor one or Superstorm Sandy,” he added, referring to the storm that wreaked havoc in New York City and New Jersey about a decade ago.