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John Koudounis on Interest Rates, Inflation, Recession Fears, Crypto and AI

John Koudounis
John Koudounis, the President and CEO of Calamos Investments, said that if a recession in the US happens it would be a “shallow one”. Credit: Greek Reporter

“Most likely we will avoid a recession” notes John Koudounis in an exclusive interview to Greek Reporter. The president and chief executive officer of Calamos Investments also spoke about the US economy, interest rates, inflation, recession fears, crypto and AI.

On interest rates, Koudounis said that the Fed will probably maintain its benchmark rate at 5.25-5.5% on Wednesday, which is a 22-year high. He said that the Fed may do another rise in interest rates next month. “It’s hard to tell. A lot depends on fiscal policy which is a big part of the changes that are happening in the world in the last several years.”

“Oil has been a big part of inflation driver around the entire world,” the Greek-American business executive said.

Oil prices climbed above $95 a barrel for the first time in 2023 on Tuesday, as supply cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia fueled concerns of a shortfall that could harm the global economy.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose as high as $95.33 a barrel and appears on course to challenge $100 a barrel this month, with the rally in prices since June now approaching 30%.

The rise in the price of oil is inflationary and “watersheds down to everything.”

Koudounis: Recession, if it happens, will be “swallow”

Koudounis is pessimistic about inflation saying that “I do not inflation coming down for a while.”

However, he stressed that the US economy is well prepared for a “soft landing.”

“We are not out of the woods yet, but I am hopeful there will not be a recession, and if there is it’s going to be a shallow one and it will not take a long time, maybe a quarter or two,” Koudounis told Greek Reporter.

In an earlier speech at the Concordia Summit, he had said that “despite the effect of Covid on the economy, the disruption of supply lines, and the interest rate hikes, “it’s incredible how we are bouncing off this…The resilience of the economy has been great.”

Koudounis on blockchain and AI

Being asked about cryptocurrencies, Koudounis said that there is “a ton of value in blockchain technology which will revolutionize the financial markets.”

On Bitcoin he said that it will be around but “it will not be as big as people think…I do not think that the world will adopt Bitcoin as its main currency by any stretch but the technology behind it, blockchain will revolutionize business.

He noted that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will also be a catalyst for change.

“There are tremendous amounts of applications used in business. We [Calamos Investments] have been using it for a while in many parts of our business.”

“I just hope that AI does not get into the hands of people that can use it in a bad way. I think some regulation in the industry would be a good thing,” Koudounis stressed.

With developments on cryptocurrencies and AI “stay tuned because we are going to be on a roller coaster ride for the next several years.”

In addition to being President & CEO of Calamos Investments, a global investment firm,  Koudounis is also a member of the board of trustees of the National Hellenic Museum.

He is a founding board member and executive committee member of The Hellenic Initiative, a non-profit, non-governmental organization with the aim of supporting Greece and Cyprus in the aftermath of the financial crisis by helping to foster entrepreneurship in both countries.

*Alexander Mizan contributed to this report.

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