Jan 11, 2024 | The Sherman Show

Bianco on a “No Landing” Economy, Sticky Inflation and Powell Pivot (E149)

Jim Bianco, President of market and macroeconomic research firm Bianco Research, appears Jan. 11, 2024, with hosts Jeffrey Sherman and Samuel Lau to discuss among other issues his outlook for a “no landing” U.S. economy in 2024 (1:48), sticky inflation of 3% to 4% (3:25) and his theory on Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell’s dovish turn (9:35) on Dec. 13. “The problem with the economy is there isn’t a problem,” Mr. Bianco says. “My biggest concern is too much growth and sticky inflation.”

Between a hawkish Powell speech on Dec. 1 and Powell’s softened stance on Dec. 13, the data showed no change in economic fundamentals. So what changed his mind? Mr. Bianco notes (10:33) that Federal Reserve officials prefer unanimous or near-unanimous votes on monetary policy and bank regulations. He suspects “a bunch of doves” among the FOMC’s voting members let Chair Powell know they were prepared to vote in dissent, “and I think he acquiesced.”

Mr. Bianco thinks the biggest change (15:26) in the economy coming out of 2020 was remote work. On economic fundamentals (21:24), he sees little case for “a macro problem with the labor market” or trouble with the consumer. He does note warning signs in credit and the potentially problematic rise of the U.S. government’s interest expense.

Asked about exogenous risks (25:55), Mr. Bianco points to attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and the consequent rerouting of 30% to 40% of the world’s cargo shipping from that critical Asia-Europe route to around Africa. Mr. Bianco warns delays will spell inventory trouble not only in Europe but in the U.S.

Mr. Bianco has some criticism of the Federal Reserve (46:33). “The Fed first raised rates in March of 2022. What was the year-over-year inflation rate when they finally got to the first rate hike? It was 8.6%. Boy, they waited way, way, way too long before they got it.”

Messrs. Sherman and Lau also discuss with Mr. Bianco why the bond market sometimes is “smarter at sniffing out disaster” than the stock market (51:20), the absence of recession despite protracted recessionary warnings from leading indicators (52:54) and complacency in the credit market (1:06:03).

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  • Jeffrey Sherman, CFA

    Jeffrey Sherman, CFA

    As DoubleLine’s Deputy Chief Investment Officer, Jeffrey Sherman oversees and administers DoubleLine’s Investment Management sub-committee coordinating and implementing policies and processes across the investment teams. He also serves as lead portfolio manager for multi-sector and derivative-based strategies. Mr. Sherman is a member of DoubleLine’s Executive Management and Fixed Income Asset Allocation Committees. He can be heard regularly on his podcast “The Sherman Show” (Twitter @ShermanShowPod, where he interviews distinguished guests, giving listeners insight into DoubleLine’s current views. In 2018, Money Management Executive named Jeffrey Sherman as one of “10 Fund Managers to Watch” in its yearly special report. Prior to joining DoubleLine in 2009, Mr. Sherman was a Senior Vice President at TCW where he worked as a portfolio manager and quantitative analyst focused on fixed income and real-asset portfolios. He was a statistics and mathematics instructor at both the University of the Pacific and Florida State University. Mr. Sherman taught Quantitative Methods for Level I candidates in the CFA LA/USC Review Program for many years. He holds a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of the Pacific and an M.S. in Financial Engineering from the Claremont Graduate University. Mr. Sherman is a CFA® charterholder.

  • Samuel Lau

    Macro-Asset Allocation

    Samuel Lau

    Macro-Asset Allocation

    Mr. Lau joined DoubleLine in 2009. He is a Strategist on the Fixed Income Asset Allocation (FIAA) Committee and a contributing member on the Global Asset Allocation and Macro Committees. Mr. Lau is a Portfolio Manager on DoubleLine’s strategic commodity strategy while working in portfolio management and trading for derivatives-based and multi-asset strategies, including DoubleLine's Shiller Enhanced CAPE®, Shiller Enhanced International CAPE®, Real Estate and Income, and Multi-Asset Trend strategies. He also co-hosts the Sherman Show (Twitter @ShermanShowPod, and Monday Morning Minutes (Twitter @DLineMinutes, podcasts. Prior to DoubleLine, Mr. Lau was a Vice President at TCW where he worked under Jeffrey Gundlach as a Research Analyst in the Mortgage Group. He holds a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and an MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.