Citigroup is forecasting a near 50% probability of a global recession, as central banks rush to raise interest rates to stamp out inflation that has been partly fueled by the impact of the Ukraine war and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recession is an "increasingly palpable risk" for the economy, Citigroup analysts wrote in a note on Wednesday, while assessing the likely trajectory for global growth over the next 18 months.
"The experience of history indicates that disinflation often carries meaningful costs for growth, and we see the aggregate probability of recession as now approaching 50%," the analysts said.
Several central banks, including the US Federal Reserve, have aggressively raised borrowing rates as the cost of living reaches record levels. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday the central bank was not trying to trigger recession, but it was committed to bring prices under control.
"The global economy is flashing a number of yellow lights at present, which flow from the persistent supply shocks but also increasingly from central bank tightening and the effects of tighter financial conditions and higher inflation on the behavior of consumers," Citigroup said.
It said that while recession risks were higher, all three scenarios of a "soft landing, higher inflation, and global recession (were) plausible and should remain on our radar," with something closer to a soft landing as its base case.