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Larry Fink doesn’t see a big recession this year, but expects inflation to stay higher for longer

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Andrew Ross Sorkin speaks with BlackRock CEO Larry Fink during the New York Times DealBook Summit in the Appel Room at the Jazz At Lincoln Center on November 30, 2022 in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Larry Fink, chairman and CEO of BlackRock, believes the U.S. could skirt a major economic downturn this year, but inflation is going to be around for a while.

“No I don’t see a big recession,” Fink said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” Friday. “I’m not sure we’re going to have a recession in 2023, we may have it in early 24.”

The head of the world’s largest asset manager said the chance of a recession is dependent on the Federal Reserve’s battle against inflation. The central bank has raised its benchmark interest rate┬ánine times for a total of 4.75 percentage points, the fastest pace of tightening since the early 1980s. BlackRock manages $9 trillion in assets.

“It all depends on what is the pathway of inflation of the short run and pathway to the Fed,” Fink said. “I believe inflation is going to be stickier for longer. In other words, I think we’re going to have a 4ish floor in inflation.”

Price pressures have shown signs of easing as of late after a series of aggressive rate hikes over the past year. The consumer price index, a widely followed measure of the costs for goods and services in the U.S. economy, rose 0.1% for the month and 5% from a year ago, cooler than expectations.

While the headline annual increase for the CPI was the smallest since June 2021, inflation is still well above where the Fed feels comfortable. Policymakers target inflation around 2% as a healthy and sustainable growth level.

In light of the challenging macro environment, Fink said there’s an increasing amount of BlackRock clients who are considering taking down risk in their portfolio.

“We’re seeing more and more clients who are looking at bringing down their risk, but keeping their portfolio much more wholistic and a little bit more resilient by having a better foundation of bonds and equities,” Fink said. “That’s what’s happening right now.”



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