Amid ongoing strength in the domestic economy, concerns over the global economy present a more balanced approach to the growth outlook for this year. Weaker data in Europe and Asia, coupled with the risks associated with a broader U.S. trade war with China, represent potential economic downsides.
As a result, the rapid economic expansion that dominated the U.S. economy in 2018 has largely been replaced with a slower and more sustainable scenario. The Federal Reserve has eyed these developments, putting further rate hikes for this year on hold at its latest meeting in March. The Fed also announced plans to end quantitative tightening, its process of reducing its balance sheet, by September of this year. This follows a tumultuous fourth quarter in financial markets, with spiking volatility in equity markets leading to a steep drop in 10-Year Treasury yields from nearly 3.25 percent to 2.5 percent, the lowest level since the beginning of 2018. The yield curve has begun to price in a much less aggressive Fed, with flattening interest rates across a range of maturities leading to a partial inversion in some short-dated issues.