As I’ve written before, the private sector’s net private saving is a reliable indicator to predict severe recessions, and even depressions.
More specifically, there hasn’t been a period of negative net private saving that hasn’t resulted in a depression or at least a very severe recession, such as the so called Great Recession of 2008.
Recent Q4 data paints a shockingly bleak picture:
The government’s deficit (red line) has gone from a Q3 level to around -$900 billion to a surplus of around $15 billion in Q4. As you can see, the private sector’s net saving (blue line) has correspondingly crashed from a positive $538 billion to -$499 billion (!!), with the foreign sector’s saving (green line) also expanding a little bit.
The way to reverse this trend would be massive government budget deficits or a monumental reversal in the US current account deficit. If this doesn’t happen in the current and future quarters, a huge recession is now all of a sudden in the cards, even though private sector leverage has remained low, when compared to 2008 levels, for now.