The fast-moving coronavirus, which has been roiling markets for more than a week, is pushing the U.S. economy toward a recession, according to Marko Papic, partner and chief strategist at Clocktower Group, who spoke to a conference crowd on Thursday.
"Where I see this heading is in a recession," Papic told a crowd at the Montgomery Summit in Santa Monica. "The U.S. consumer is 15% of global GDP, that's a large chunk."
Just how long and deep it is could largely depend on the virus' trajectory and government response, he said. If the virus behaves in the the U.S. and other countries as it has in China, peaking and then quickly declining, then there will likely be a short-lived recession, Papic said.
He warned that the U.S. government could bring on inflation if responds with too much stimulus.
Papic spoke as part of a panel of health experts brought together at the last-minute by Jamie Montgomery, the founder and managing director of Los Angeles-based March Capital Partners. The idea: To address what was already on top of everyone's mind: Just how serious a threat is this virus?
Asked to rank the scale of the problem the virus poses from one to 10, panelist Christopher Mores, program director for the Global Health Epidemiology and Disease Control program, said "I'm a seven on this thing."
"It's kind of a blend between our outbreak response, and the concerns I have for our policy response," he said, "and damage to other systems in the economy."