Hedge Fund Managers Klarman, Dalio Sound Loud Warnings About U.S. and Global Economies

January 22, 2019, 4:29 PM UTC

Two of the biggest names in hedge funds are separately warning investors that dire financial times could be ahead.

Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s biggest hedge fund, and Seth Klarman, who has been called “the next Warren Buffett” spoke out separately Tuesday, saying both the U.S. and global economies were at risk.

Dalio, speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box, said he believed the U.S. was at “significant risk” of a recession in 2020. The discussion followed a panel at Davos, where the manager of Bridgewater (which oversees roughly $160 billion on behalf of about 350 clients) said “the next downturn in the economy worries me the most.”

Klarman, who runs Baupost Group, which manages $27 billion in assets, voiced concerns about rising debt, global tensions, and the widening political divide in the U.S. and other countries in a note to investors.

“It can’t be business as usual amid constant protests, riots, shutdowns and escalating social tensions,” he wrote. “The seeds of the next major financial crisis (or the one after that) may well be found in today’s sovereign debt levels.”

Dalio’s cautions extended beyond the U.S. as well. He also warned of troubles in Europe, China, and Japan, saying “the inability of central banks to ease as much [as they have]” could define the next two years.

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee is scheduled to meet this week. It’s not expected to adjust interest rates.

Those warnings, along with investors’ own fears about a global economic slowdown, have caused the Dow to fall as much as 200 points in early trading Tuesday.

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