Global economic growth in 2019 is showing signs of picking up amid recovery in the eurozone and China, the world's second-largest economy. The prospect of a deeper slowdown in China has been one of the biggest concerns for the global economy this year. The U.S. economy, while outperforming other developed countries, will sputter along as the fiscal stimulus fueled by tax cuts wanes and investments slow. Despite some improvement in the data flow, we expect to see headwinds from trade, interest rates, market volatility, and fiscal policies.
The Federal Reserve's policy switch, meanwhile, continues front and center in the markets. Many global central banks have turned more dovish on interest rates, and Wall Street has hung on to every word Fed chair Jerome Powell uttered this year. Powell faces a tricky task as some of his comments have fueled the idea that there is a Powell "put" — that the Fed under his leadership will act like an option contract to prevent stocks from falling too much. Over in Japan, the central bank continues to struggle with low inflation and limited monetary policy options.