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KATU: Oregon economists predict slowdown after Dow drops by nearly 800 points
Author: By Joe Douglas, KATU
Posted: December 5, 2018

Read the original KATU story

Don't panic -- that's the message from a local investment adviser in the wake of a terrible day on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by nearly 800 points.

KATU also spoke with two leading Oregon economists. They're not predicting a doomsday scenario at this point, but they did say which areas of the economy may be hit the hardest. And one made a prediction about when the U.S. may see a recession.

For investors watching their stocks Tuesday it was tough, especially coming after hopes were recently raised regarding U.S.-China trade relations.

"We had some really good news this weekend about the tariff situation. Market responded very nice on the opening on Monday," said David Swanson, an investment adviser from Lake Oswego, who watched the nail-biter from his home away from home in Hawaii.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said he would "happily" sign a fair deal with China but also left open the possibility that talks will fail.

"(Chinese) President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will," Trump tweeted. "But if not remember... I am a tariff man."

Boeing and Caterpillar, two major exporters that would take a big hit if trade relations get worse, were some of the big losers on the Dow.

"I've seen interest rates move in a negative manner," Swanson said, "bond prices rising, interest rates declining, which is kind of a shock which signals people are perceiving that we're not going to have the growth in the economy that we were once perceiving."

Tom Potiowsky, a former Oregon state economist and economics professor, agrees. He said investors are seeing signs of a possible recession in the near future.

"If we would tip into one, I would expect a slowing in 2019 and if it does happen -- 2020 -- in that, I think there's a more heightened risk of it occurring, but I would not say with certainty it's going to happen," Potiowsky explained.

"If you're younger, you have nothing to worry about," said Swanson. "If you're older and you have a lot of money in the marketplace and you were getting ready to retire and you were planning on using that money and trying to get it to grow, you may need to rethink that philosophy going forward."

Hiro Ito, chair of Portland State University's economics department, also said the U.S. economy is due to slow down since it's been doing so well lately.

"But I'm more concerned about emerging markets outside the U.S.," Ito said. "Because those countries have many firms that borrowed a lot of money using the U.S. dollar then once the dollar becomes stronger or the interest rate goes farther up, then their, that burden can increase. So then if that happens, some sort of financial instability may arise in the emerging market economy."

Ito and Potiowsky both said manufacturing will likely take the biggest hit.

"You'll probably see housing again being somewhat hit, not like it was before because we don't have a bubble in housing right now," said Potiowsky. "We're going to see manufacturing take a harder hit, anywhere from Intel, consumer products."