Brian Horrigan, Chief Economist

Brian Horrigan is a vice president and chief economist at Loomis, Sayles & Company. Brian started his investment industry career in 1980 and joined Loomis Sayles in 1992. Prior to Loomis Sayles, he was the director of US long term forecasting at the WEFA Group, and a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Brian earned a BS from Santa Clara University and an MA and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also a member of the American Economic Association and the National Association for Business Economics.

Recent Posts

Chart of the Week: US GDP and the Soybean Factor

Posted by Brian Horrigan, Chief Economist on Feb 22, 2017 7:34:32 AM

Seasonally adjusted, US real GDP rose a strong 3.5% in the third quarter of 2016, but then slowed to a lousy 1.9% in the fourth quarter. (All growth rates are at an annual rate). Are these figures representative of an underlying economic trend? Believe it or not, soybeans were actually an important factor in the swings in growth.

The US had a bumper crop of soybeans last year and exported a huge amount to China, recorded in third quarter exports.  Seasonally adjusted, total real exports of food surged 216% in that period, the largest quarterly gain since 1969.   The rise in good exports accounted for most of the rise in merchandise exports that quarter and the surge boosted third quarter real GDP.

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Topics: Macro Strategies

Presidential Power: Are We At Risk for a Trade War?

Posted by Brian Horrigan, Chief Economist on Nov 4, 2016 11:45:00 AM

As do many economists, I have a strong bias for free trade. These are not happy times for those of us with such a perspective. A largely bipartisan consensus on the benefits of free trade seems to have vanished, and trade policy is at risk in today’s political arena.

There is a serious risk of unhappy times if a full-scale trade war breaks out, as I believe it could. The financial shock from a trade war, if it happened, would make Brexit look like a walk in the park.

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FOMC September Decision: Setting Up a Hike

Posted by Brian Horrigan, Chief Economist on Sep 22, 2016 11:05:49 AM

To almost no one’s surprise, the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) changed no policy rates and it kept its policy concerning its balance sheet unchanged this week. 

Not everyone was pleased.  There were three dissents, all by bank presidents who wanted a 25 basis point hike:  Esther George, Loretta Mester and Eric Rosengren.  Rosengren was a bit of surprise since he used to be thought of as “dovish.”  It was the largest number of dissents in two years.  The degree of dissent should push the FOMC to act soon.

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Topics: Macro Strategies

Warm Weather Distortions in US Economic Data

Posted by Brian Horrigan, Chief Economist on Dec 22, 2015 4:04:56 PM

November 2015 ranked as the 25th warmest November in the last 121 years. The weather was exceptionally mild in regions most often affected by cold (New England, the mid-Atlantic states and the Midwest).

October was also warmer than typical – but not as warm as November. These weather developments may very well be related to the “El Niño” phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean. 

A warm spell like this can wreak havoc with economic data:  

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