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Are we on the cusp of a recession? Trump economic advisers say no

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In an interview with Jake Tapper, top White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro discusses the growing fears of a recession, China trade talks and the world markets.

Posted: Aug 19, 2019 9:00 AM
Updated: Aug 19, 2019 9:00 AM

Two top White House economic advisers on Sunday brushed off widespread fears of a brewing global recession, instead boasting about the state of the US economy under President Donald Trump.

"No, I don't see a recession. And let me add just one theme ... Just one theme. We're doing pretty darn well, in my judgment. Let's not be afraid of optimism," Larry Kudlow, the White House's chief economic adviser, told NBC's Chuck Todd on "Meet The Press." In a separate appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Kudlow told host Dana Perino that he didn't see a recession "at all."

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro similarly brushed off concerns of an impending recession, telling CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" that the yield curve -- a critical economic indicator related to US Treasury bonds that, when inverted, often precedes recessions -- was not "technically" inverted last week.

The comments from the two officials come amid growing fears of a global economic slowdown that could potentially threaten Trump's reelection bid. The economy has been an important talking point for the President, who often invokes its growth as a way to boost his administration's popularity. Though the US economy, for now, remains on stable ground, five of the world's biggest economies are at risk of a recession, and a week of whiplash on Wall Street spiked fears the US economy could be dragged down too.

Since Trump took office, the stock market has reached record highs and unemployment has stayed at a historic low. But any number of factors could set off a US downturn, including Trump's trade policy, a weakening global economy, the waning effects of the 2017 tax cuts or even a risk of deflation.

On Sunday, the two officials sought to draw positive attention to the US economy, with Navarro telling Tapper, "What we see now is foreign capital coming to the best game on the globe, which is the Trump economy. It's going into our stock market."

Kudlow also looked to refocus attention on economic gains under Trump, saying on NBC, "We had some blockbuster retail sales, consumer numbers towards the back end of last week. Really blockbuster numbers."

He said despite the worries about a volatile stock market, "most economists on Wall Street towards the end of the week had been marking up their forecasts for the third and fourth quarter. That echoes our view."

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