Citi CEO Jane Fraser Says Europe will Fall into a recession, U.S. Could Follow

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Citi CEO Jane Fraser
Citi CEO Jane Fraser

Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser says she is convinced Europe is headed into a recession.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum Monday, Fraser said that a plethora of factors, including the war in Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis, have made Europe vulnerable to an economic downturn.

“Europe is right in the middle of the storms from supply chains, from the energy crisis, and obviously just the proximity to some of the atrocities that are occurring in Ukraine,” she told Geoff Cutmore.

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When asked if the factors played a role in forming her conviction, Fraser said: “Yes.”

European energy costs have soared in recent months amid Russian sanctions, while a broader surge in inflation is fueling a cost-of-living crisis.

The prediction she made in October 2021 of a “brutal winter” for markets proved largely accurate, with stock markets embarking on a major sell-off in early 2022 with losses extending to today.

The U.S., which has so far demonstrated “more resiliency” in the economy, the labor market and among consumers, may yet suffer a recession, Fraser said. However, the Federal Reserve’s rate-hiking strategy as inflation soars ever higher will determine the outcomes.

“There’s some buffer there,” she said. “To be seen if it’s used wisely or not.”

Meanwhile, Asia is recovering well from the Covid-19 pandemic, and demonstrating “a sense of optimism,” she said.

Jane Fraser, CEO of Citi, says she is convinced Europe will fall into recession as it faces the impact of the war in Ukraine and the resultant energy crisis.

Fraser was speaking on a panel entitled the “Global Economic Outlook,” in which she was joined by Francois Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Central Bank of France and a European Central Bank policymaker.

Villeroy de Galhau said he would “disagree” with Fraser’s prognosis for the European economy, describing it instead as “resilient.”

“The main problem, at least in the short run, is inflation,” he said. “This is why we have to normalize monetary policy.”