Economic fundamentals look strong, GAME XI Forum panel agrees

Global markets and investment strategies panel guardedly optimistic about dodging recession

The “Outlook for Global Markets and Investment Strategies” panel on the first day of Quinnipiac University’s 11th Global Asset Management Education (GAME) Forum was guardedly optimistic about avoiding a recession. But caveats and risks abound, including the possibility that the Federal Reserve Board will over-react and raise interest rates too high.

“It depends on how Ukraine plays out,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. He offered several scenarios, including an escalation that would force Europeans to abandon Russian energy. “In that case, Europe is hurt worse than the U.S., but Europeans are pulling together now,” Kelly said. “I see the U.S. well positioned as COVID fades, the economy opens up, and job demand remains high. But the longer inflation stays around the stickier it gets.”

Celia Dallas, chief investment officer at Cambridge Associates, sees investment opportunities in clean tech and energy transition infrastructure due to heavy spending there to achieve net zero climate emissions in 2050. She added, “I do think the Fed worries about inflation becoming unanchored, and is becoming more aggressive—that’s a risk.” Dallas also said that challenges to the dollar-dominated global financial system have been “overstated in the popular press—for decades they’ve been predicting the dollar’s demise as the international reserve currency."

Eric Veiel, head of global equity at T. Rowe Price, noted that “China is putting its foot back on the accelerator and pushing to stimulate, which should help global markets broadly. I think overall the global economy will be OK.” Veiel agreed that inflation remains difficult. “Who would want Jerome Powell’s job now?” he asked.

Jimmy Chang, chief investment officer at the Rockefeller Global Family Office, was the most bearish panelist. “My concern is that even before the Ukrainian crisis we were already experiencing the most difficult inflation in almost 40 years,” he said. “Every previous instance of elevated inflation since World War II ended with recession.” But Chang said that prices for used cars and oil could turn around and become deflationary.

The panel was moderated by Peter Spiegel, U.S. managing editor for the Financial Times. The virtual GAME conference drew more than 1,300 participants from more than 120 universities.

There were 16 panels, 71 speakers and 41 companies represented.

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