DoubleLine Capital co-founder Jeffrey Gundlach said Thursday that the Federal Reserve’s expected action to raise rates is like the Seattle Seahawks disastrous Super Bowl play in which a would-be winning touchdown was intercepted less than a yard from the goal line, costing the Seahawks the title.
The play call is already one of the all-time great blunders in sports history, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and Fed chairman Janet Yellen “even look alike,” Gundlach said, making his point with side-by-side photos of the pair at ETF.com’s Fixed Income conference in Newport Beach, Calif.
“The case [for a rate rise] should be made by the [economic] indicators,” which the Fed is ignoring, he said, speaking the day before a positive jobs report on Friday that has Wall Street braced for a rate hike in December.
Gundlach, CEO at DoubleLine Capital, contrasted the U.S. with Europe. While the European Central Bank is expanding its stimulus programs, here the Fed seems intent on raising rates.
Given that, “you would think GDP prospects in the U.S. would be phenomenal,” he said. But U.S. GDP growth is at 2 percent and trending down. “In Europe, it’s trending up, at around 1.5 percent now” and may have already caught up with the U.S.
“The difference between QE infinity in Europe and [the rationale that] we should hike rates in the U.S. is a 50 lousy basis points of real GDP,” he said.
Gundlach also contrasted conditions today with those in 2012. “In 2012, not only did we have zero interest rates, but we came to the conclusion that that wasn’t enough” and instituted the third round of quantitative easing, he said.
But “most economic conditions are worse today than they were in September of 2012, and this is why I find it so odd,” Gundlach said.
An important measure of core inflation, personal consumption expenditures, is slightly negative now, he said, adding that if we calculated inflation the same way Europe does, the U.S. would be experiencing deflation.
Another indicator of a slumping global economy: Falling commodity prices. “They’re lower then they were at the depth of the great recession,” he said. “So that’s not exactly a reason for raising interest rates.”