WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser said Tuesday he sees no downturn looming for the US economy, even as the coronavirus epidemic hits the Chinese economy and Germany and Japan flirt with recession.
In an interview broadcast on CNBC, Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow replied "yes, we can," when asked if the United States could continue growing should a recession hit the rest of the world.
He also downplayed the economic impact of the coronavirus, saying, "I don't think it's going to be an economic tragedy at all."
"The numbers are saying the US (is) holding up nicely," Kudlow said, adding "China is going to take an awfully big hit."
He pointed to indicators from regional central banks and new US consumer confidence figures released Tuesday that show continued economic health and no disruption in supplies even as production from some Chinese factories is halted over the virus.
He estimated it will take another 2 to 3 weeks for the situation to become clear and welcomed the call by US health authorities for local governments, business and schools to be prepared for an increase in cases of COVID-19.
He also downplayed speculation that the Federal Reserve would make an emergency rate cut to support the economy.
"I'm not hearing that either publicly or privately. We're in touch with the Fed people all the time," he said. "I'm not hearing the Fed is going to make any panic move."
Speaking at a conference in Washington on Tuesday, Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida said that "if developments emerge that, in the future, trigger a material reassessment of our outlook, we will respond accordingly."
"It is still too soon to even speculate about either the size or the persistence" of the virus's effects on the global economy, "or whether they will lead to a material change in the outlook," he said.
Wall Street closed sharply down for the second day in a row, but Kudlow earlier in the day said he saw no cause for alarm, instead calling on investors to take advantage of low prices, echoing comments by Trump the day before.
© Agence France-Presse