Monetary Policy Drives Economic Prospects; Geopolitics Limits Inflation Improvement
Inflation, interest rates, and recession will dominate the U.S. economic narrative in the first quarter of 2023, shifting in the second and third to a focus on timing of recovery and a more neutral monetary policy and, in the fourth, whether and when the Fed will signal the start of a new easing cycle, according to Triple-I Chief Economist and Data Scientist Dr. Michel Léonard.
“We forecast the U.S. economy to grow 3.2 percent in 2023, up from 2.6 percent in 2022,” Léonard says. The U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) ended 2023 at 6.5 percent year over year, down from a high of 9.1 percent year over year in June. “Triple-I expects inflation to continue to decline throughout 2023, though not equally from one to the next quarter. The pace and extent of any inflation slowdown are predicated on improvements in global geopolitical risk.”
P&C underlying growth, which has been below overall GDP since the start of the pandemic, is likely to grow at a faster pace than the rest of the U.S. economy throughout the year.
“We remain cautious and forecast insurance underlying growth for 2023 to be around 3 percent, up from 2 percent in 2022,” Léonard says. “We forecast P&C replacement costs to increase by between 4.5 percent and 6.5 percent year-over-year in 2023. P&C replacement costs increased on average 25 percent since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.”
Even though Triple-I expects economic fundamentals to improve throughout 2023, line-specific underwriting considerations will continue to depress performance, Léonard says.
Triple-I members can access the Triple-I’s Economic Dashboard, available at the organization’s members-only website. The Dashboard’s ongoing updates allow insurance industry professionals to follow key economic reports (e.g., federal governmental updates on interest rate, unemployment, and housing trends) in real time, adjust forecasts, and recalibrate strategy. Each quarter, the Triple-I’s Outlook provides a road map about which key economic reports will most impact insurance industry performance.
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