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Cautious Optimism: Brad Tank Predicts Investor Sentiment for 2024 on The UW Now Livestream

The aftereffects of the COVID pandemic still haunt the economy, but economists are no longer forecasting the recession they expected a year ago.

For economists and investors, 2020 was weird; 2021 was weird, too, and so were 2022 and 2023. Every year since COVID-19 first appeared, the national and global economies have performed in ways that financial experts didn’t expect. But Brad Tank MBA’82 thinks that era of uncertainty may, slowly, be coming to a close, and the economic world will return to something more recognizable.

Tank, the chief investment officer and managing director of the private investment firm Neuberger Berman, is speaking on the December 12, 2023, episode of The UW Now Livestream, and he’ll offer his predictions for 2024. “Last year, the Wall Street Journal did a survey of more than 30 economists, and the vast majority were forecasting recession,” he says. “We thought that was a reasonable bet, given how aggressively central banks had tightened [interest rates]. At the time, China, the second-largest economy in the world, was still in lockdown. Interestingly enough, it’s a year later, recession hasn’t happened, and if you survey a lot of economists today, it's slightly less than 50-50 forecasting recession.”

Tank can’t see into the future, but it's his job — and Neuberger Berman’s business — to give people a solid idea of what to expect so that they aren’t often surprised by the way that markets behave. 

On The UW Now, I’ll Talk About:

I’ll talk about the key economic variables. I’ll focus on the U.S., but I’m happy to talk about non-US economics and markets as well. I’ll talk about central bank policy rates. I’ll talk about inflation. We’ll talk about some of the forecasts coming from commercial banks and investment banks. We can talk about the consensus for growth and inflation and central bank policy rates. Then I’ll get into where, at Neuberger, we think the consensus could be off. Our job as money managers isn’t just the forecast but to provide insights. We look for areas where the market’s vulnerable.

The One Thing I Want Viewers to Remember Is:

The post-COVID economy remains unlike any economy we’ve ever seen. There was that very rapid, very severe global economic shutdown in the spring of 2020, which really sent aftershocks and ripples into the global economy. And it wasn't just the shutdown. It was the responses, the huge amount of fiscal stimulus, the aggressive moves by central banks. We're still in this unique situation, unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and the effects are still with us. It’s made forecasting fairly difficult; it’s made markets fairly volatile. But the good news is that we’re becoming more normal, volatility is coming down, and forecasting is becoming a little bit easier. 

To Get Smart Fast, Read:

I’d also recommend several books, including Chip War, by Chris Miller, and The Price of Time, by Edward Chancellor.

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