The World Bank has warned of "darkening skies" for the global economy, leading it to cut its growth forecast from 3% to 2.9% for 2019. Global gloom is spreading across industries, sparking job cuts and lower profit forecasts.

John Finn, managing director of Treasury Solutions - a company that advises client companies on financial matters - says there are a number of signs that an economic slowdown is looming.

The first is in the US where the cost of fixing interest rates has decreased by half a percent in the last eight weeks. "In actual fact, it is cheaper to fix debt for the next five years than it is to roll it for three months, and that's nearly always a sign that you've hit the top of an interest rates cycle. The top of an economic cycle is when you see long term rates lower than short term rates," Mr Finn explained.

China is slowing down - albeit from a very fast pace - but the financial analyst said that if it grows at a slower pace, it will have a knock-on effect globally. There is also the threat of Brexit, and the investment community has seen a lot of asset classes fall in 2018 "so equity is under pressure".

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Mr Finn explained that when equities fall, people have less wealth and if people have less wealth then they spend less. "Then you get that knock-on effect and economic growth slows".

Most countries are "booming" but they are still borrowing money, which Mr Finn said is counter-intuitive. "If you are earning a lot of money in good times, generally you should be able to save money rather than borrow more.

"I'm saying to clients the same thing that I said in January 2007 which is that it is better to be ahead of the curve if you think there is a slowdown coming.

"It is far more prudent to refinance your borrowings and have them on a sounder footing," he added.

Credit ratings of the Irish banks are steadily improving, but one ratings agency warned there is a threat to the banking industry from the continued growth in house prices fueled by more lending.

"Standard and Poor's issued a largely positive report at the end of December whereby the Irish banks credit ratings were upgraded yet again, but the thing they warned about was that the banks were targeting loan growth again," Mr Finn said.

"They are concerned that with the housing market increasing in price, if the loan growth was to be too much in the mortgage area, that that would stoke the housing market further and we've seen what that has done before. I think what they are saying is 'Learn from the past and don't make the same mistakes again'.

Mr Finn believes this is a concern despite the Central Bank mortgage lending rules which are in place.

"'This time it will be different'. How many times have you heard that before? I'm just a little concerned that with the reversal of quantitative easing and all the asset classes beginning to fall, there is something out there that could surprise us this year and that just has a domino effect," he added.