‘Very, very high’ risk of recession, warns Goldman’s Lloyd Blankfein

‘Very, very high’ risk of recession, warns Goldman’s Lloyd Blankfein

Businesses and consumers should prepare for the worst, but Fed still has ‘narrow path’ for recovery, Blankfein says in CBS News interview

There’s “a very, very high risk factor” that the U.S. is headed for a recession, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS, +2.53% Senior Chairman Lloyd Blankfein warned Sunday.

In an interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” Blankfein said there is definitely a risk of recession, and that business and consumers should brace for one.

“If I were running a big company, I would be very prepared for it. If I was a consumer, I’d be prepared for it. But it’s not baked in the cake.”

— Lloyd Blankfein

But he added that there’s a “narrow path” for the Fed to use its “very powerful tools” to avoid a recession. “I think they’re responding well,” he told host Margaret Brennan, according to a transcript.

Blankfein added that the Fed has no choice but to keep raising interest rates to slow down consumer demand. “And that’s going to involve some pain,” he said. While noting that some inflationary factors — such as the war in Ukraine and supply-chain crunches — are transitory and will eventually go away, until then, “it’s going to be quite difficult and oppressive” for lower-income individuals as prices rise.

Blankfein said that while inflation has been stoked by extra fiscal spending spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, he doesn’t necessarily blame the government for doing all it could to prevent another financial meltdown. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell admitted last week that the central bank was too slow to start raising interest rates to fight inflation.

“They reacted and I think they reacted sensibly with what they knew at the time,” Blankfein said. “And you can argue about that, but that’s all with the benefit of hindsight.”

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