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Country Forecast United States April 2018 Updater

Country Forecast United States April 2018 Updater

  • April 2018
  • ID: 1194935
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

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  • The president, Donald Trump, will resist attempts by senior staff to manage him too closely. Therefore, coherent messaging and effective management of the newsflow over a sustained period will prove impossible.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit assesses the risk of Mr Trump being forced from office through impeachment as a result of the investigation run by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, into potential links between Mr Trump and Russian government officials as low.
  • The Democrats are the favourites to win back a majority in the House of Representatives (the lower house) at the 2018 mid-term elections owing to an unusually high number of Republican retirements, Mr Trump's broad unpopularity, a lead in polling on a generic-ballot basis and a strong turnout in special elections in 2017. The electoral calendar means that the Republicans are likely to retain their majority in the Senate (the upper house). This outcome would ensure further partisanship and very little meaningful new policy.
  • We expect the Federal Reserve (Fed, the central bank) to increase its policy interest rate, the Fed Funds rate, twice more in 2018, four times in 2019 and once in 2020. These rises will take the rate to close to 3.5%.
  • The economy is likely to grow by an annual average of 2.6% in 2018-19. Business investment and government spending will make increasingly large contributions, while that made by consumer spending will fall as interest rates are raised. The government's decision to provide a lot of fiscal stimulus to the economy will push up growth in 2018-19, but it will also widen the budget deficit and risk bringing an early end to the business cycle.
  • We forecast a short recession in 2020. As consumer price inflation accelerates, in late 2019 the Fed will signal a more aggressive pace of monetary tightening. This will be too much for the market to bear, and the economy will shrink for two consecutive quarters. The economy will grow by just under 1% in the year, owing to interest-rate cuts and some government stimulus, and will recover quickly in 2021.
  • Following a period of correction, we expect the US dollar to appreciate modestly from the second half of 2018, supported by a tighter monetary policy and good economic growth. We forecast renewed dollar depreciation from 2020 as the Fed eases monetary policy in response to the recession.


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