Gundlach: Recession Probability is 80% to 90%

Many of our readers will ask why it is not 100%, but Jeffrey Gundlach said the probability of a recession in the U.S. in 2020 is 80% to 90%.

“The probability is 80% there is a recession this year,” Gundlach said. “I would even put it at 90%.”

Gundlach spoke to investors via a webcast, which he titled “The Price is Right,” and the focus was on his flagship total-return fund (DBLTX). Slides from that webcast are available here. Gundlach is the founder and chairman of Los Angeles-based DoubleLine Capital.

He chose his title two weeks ago, because it takes that long for him to get compliance approval. He thought then that markets were mispriced. “Something was about to give,” he said.

Indeed, it did.

He said that the Treasury market is up 5.5% this year, but investment-grade bonds are down 10%, high yield is down 12% to 15% and emerging-market debt is off by 7% in dollars (and 12% to 15% in local currencies).

Those sharp price moves have been accompanied by a scarcity of liquidity.

There is about a 40-basis-point spread in the commercial paper market, according to Gundlach. In the corporate market, the lack of liquidity is showing up in large divergences in price, depending on the transaction size.

Let’s look at Gundlach’s survey of the economic and financial destruction wrought by the coronavirus.