The turmoil in global markets, along with the European debt crisis, has raised the specter of a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, which sent cargo and passenger demand off a cliff, but some economists think these fears may be overblown.

However, when FedEx released its quarterly earnings last week, it said the U.S. and global economies are expected to grow more slowly than anticipated, suggesting global trade may be slowing (see story below).

"We have slightly reduced our earnings forecast to reflect current business conditions and are aggressively working to adjust our cost structure to match demand levels,” says FedEx CFO Alan Graf.

But the price of crude oil is holding steady at around $80 per barrel of the West Texas Intermediate benchmark.

“Corporate profits have continued to grow year-over-yaer for the past eight quarters since turning positive in [the third quarter] of 2009,” says Deutsche Bank analyst Xiao Fu in a note. “Recession may not be imminent despite gloom in the markets.”

A side benefit of market volatility may be that as investors seek safe haven in the strengthening dollar, they could sell commodities, such as oil and gold. This could further lower oil prices in the short term, says Deutsche Bank analyst Adam Sieminski.