Bank of America CEO: US consumer 'very strong,' not entering recession

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan is optimistic about the future of the global economy, especially the U.S. He said that 2019 could be the best year in growth.

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“We have the top research firm in the world and they have done a great job and they have the U.S. growing at 2.5 percent this year,” he told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday. “The world growing 3.5 percent [gross domestic product] growth but that’s down from last year.”

White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett on Tuesday said that he expects the U.S. economy to expand at a 3 percent rate in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve been getting stronger numbers in the U.S., despite the government shutdown,” he told Bartiromo. “I’m looking at a third quarter very close to three [percent], which gives us a year of about three.”

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However a number of threats such as the back-and-forth trade tiff between the U.S. and China, uncertainty over Fed rate hikes and a historic partial government shutdown have cast doubt upon the future of the economy. But Moynihan said a “very stronger” consumer and unemployment are signs that the U.S. is just slowing down.

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“The confusion in the environment right now is, is it a slowdown or is it going into a recession?” he said.  “Nothing we see says it’s close to recession. Our experts don’t see it and our  behavior in the consumers, especially in the consumer-led economy, you’re seeing that grow at 5, 6 percent in January so far – 8 percent year over year from 18 to 17 in terms of cash used and spending and stuff – very strong.”

Bank of America reported fourth quarter earnings of $7.2 billion.