Goldman Sachs: Little sign of a recession for the next 3 years

  • Recession risk is "muted" and below average even three years from now, according to Goldman Sachs economists.
  • The 36 percent chance of a recession within three years is below historical averages.
  • If the U.S. falls into recession, there's a greater chance other countries will as well.
Kathy Huff installs a headlight assembly at GM's Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup truck plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, July 25, 2018. 
John Gress | Reuters
Kathy Huff installs a headlight assembly at GM's Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup truck plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, July 25, 2018. 

Recession risk is low, even when looking out over the next three years, according to Goldman Sachs.

The firm said the chance of a U.S. recession is "muted" in the near term, and at 36 percent over the next three years, below the historical average.

"Our model paints a more benign picture in which robust growth—coupled with receding concerns that financial conditions were unsustainably easy—have so far put a lid on US recession risk," Goldman economists wrote.

They said there has been increasing investor interest in the chance of a recession in the U.S. over the next few years.

For sure, the flattening yield curve, where the shorter-term Treasury yields are rising closer to longer-term yields has created some concern about the economic outlook, as has the Fed tightening cycle. A flattening yield curve can lead to an inverted curve, where the short-end rates are higher than longer term, a reliable recession indicator.

Weakness in emerging markets and China has also created concerns that the U.S. economy could ultimately be impacted.

"Historical experience suggests that recessions in the U.S. have gone hand in hand with recessions elsewhere. Looking at the past four decades, the average chance of a recessionary quarter in the next year in another DM economy is just over 20% if the US is not currently in recession but nearly 70% if it is," noted the Goldman economists.

The correlation to other developed markets has decreased with each U.S. recession from 1980 to 2001. However, the financial crisis triggered recession in nearly all developed economies, the economists added.