U.S. News

Larry Summers warns we could be at the 'most dangerous financial moment' since 2009

Key Points
  • Summers says "markets are now suggesting the highest risk of recession since 2011."
  • The Dow ended more than 700 points lower and investors flocked to safe havens on Monday.
  • Gold is hovering around a six-year peak and bond prices continue to fall.
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Former Economic Council director Larry Summers on China's currency and trade

The escalating trade war between the U.S. and China is potentially creating "the most dangerous financial moment" since the global crash at the end of the last decade, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said.

Markets have been on sell-off mode since last week, with Wall Street seeing its worst trading day this year on Monday. There are deep concerns about the heightened tension in the relationship between the U.S. and China, after President Donald Trump said he would slap new tariffs on Chinese goods and the Treasury Department declared Monday that Beijing is manipulating its currency. The Dow ended more than 700 points lower and investors flocked to safe havens on Monday, including gold and bonds. The precious metal is hovering around a six-year peak and bond prices continue to fall.

"We may well be at the most dangerous financial moment since the 2009 Financial Crisis with current developments between the U.S. and China," Summers, who was Treasury secretary under former President Bill Clinton and an economic advisor to former President Barack Obama, said on Twitter late Monday.

The global financial crisis, which began in 2008, became the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.

Summers added: "Markets are now suggesting the highest risk of recession since 2011. …The collapse in medium- and long-term interest rates is ominous."

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said Monday they do not expect the world's two largest economies to reach an agreement over trade before the 2020 election. As a result, the investment bank is projecting two more rate cuts this year, in September and October.

"The Fed has been increasingly responsive this year to trade war threats, bond market expectations, and global growth concerns," Goldman Sachs said in a note.

"In light of growing trade policy risks, market expectations for much deeper rate cuts, and an increase in global risk related to the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, we now expect a third 25 basis points rate cut in October, for a total of 75 basis points of cuts (this year)," the bank added.

The Fed cut rates at its last meeting, but Chairman Jerome Powell noted that it was just a "midcycle readjustment" and lowered expectations regarding further cuts. However, since then, the trade war has intensified.