David Hernandez, CFA
The combination of rising high yield spreads and falling equity markets has led many investors to question if the U.S. is headed for a recession. This week’s chart examines the probability of a recession using the yield curve as a leading indicator of future economic activity. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York publishes a model that calculates the probability based on the difference (spread) between the 10-year and 3-month Treasury yields. As the spread narrows, the probability of a recession increases. Conversely, as the spread widens, the probability decreases. As the chart shows, this model has historically been a good predictor of future recessions. Based on January’s data there is only a 4.6% chance of a recession twelve months from now. Like all models, there are no guarantees that the predictive power will continue into the future, but this provides investors another tool to formulate future expectations.
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