SUMMER SPEAKS of “False Dawns”

By Staff Reporters

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Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers is worried that investors and economists are becoming overly optimistic after year-over-year inflation cooled to 6.5% in December.

“One has to be careful of false dawns. If you think about it, the good news was inflation running in the 6’s, and that’s still inconceivably high by the standards of two or three years ago,” he told Bloomberg on Friday, adding that his forecast is still that a “recession this year is more likely than not.” 

Since March, Federal Reserve officials have raised interest rates seven times in hopes of taming inflation without sparking a recession, and all the while, economists and Wall Street analysts have debated whether they’ll be successful. Summers has repeatedly found himself in the bears’ camp. In October, he told the Financial Times that it would take “a recession” and “unemployment towards the 6% range” to ensure U.S. inflation is truly gone. 

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But the economist admitted on Friday that the latest inflation report was “good news”—and it came even though the unemployment rate was just 3.5% in December. He argued that this is evidence that wages aren’t rising too dramatically, which means the Fed may be able to change tactics soon. 

So, what do you think?

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