What is a ‘no landing’ scenario? The latest buzzword that’s ‘all about inflation’

The notion of a “no landing” scenario for the US economy — as opposed to a hard or soft landing — is the latest topic to dominate discussions among economists and strategists.

So what is it? As the video above explains, a “no landing” scenario involves the economy continuing to grow despite the Federal Reserve’s best efforts to tamp down inflation with interest rate hikes.

The hot air balloon

The hot air balloon “Dee IV” flies during the 38th annual Steamboat Springs Hot Air Balloon Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado on July 13, 2019. (Photo by Jason Connolly / AFP)

And what does that mean for investors and consumers?

“It’s all about inflation,” Bianco Research President Jim Bianco told Yahoo Finance Live.

“What they want or what they’re hoping for, both at the Fed and on the Street, is that the inflation rate is going to hit 2%,” he explained. “Well, the only way that’s going to do that — at least the belief is — the economy has to slow. And if it doesn’t slow down, then the inflation rate stays up. And if the inflation rate stays up, the Fed keeps hiking.”

Given the implication the Fed will continue raising rates until inflation subsidies — and, in turn, the economy cools off — some observers argue that there’s no such thing as a “no landing” scenario.

“Because we’re in this highly volatile environment, and because there is so much uncertainty, we’ve now seen a number of different ways to interpret or call what we’re seeing in the economy,” EY Parthenon Chief Economist Gregory Daco told Yahoo Finance this week.

“No landing does not make any sense, because it essentially means the economy continues to expand, and it’s part of an ongoing business cycle and it’s not an event — it’s just ongoing growth,” Daco added. “Doesn’t that entail that the Fed will have to raise rates more, and doesn’t that increase the risk of a hard landing?”

Quibbles about the term’s precise usage aside, experts seem to universally agree that recent data suggests that the Fed may need to raise interest rates higher than previously forecasted.

As Apollo Global Management Chief Economist Torsten Slok stated in a new note on Saturday, “the incoming data shows that we remain firmly in the no landing scenario where the Fed needs to raise rates more to slow the economy down and get inflation under control.” (Disclosure: Apollo Global Management owns Yahoo.)

Here’s the full interview with Bianco:

Michael is Yahoo Finance’s Head of Distribution. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelBKelley.

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