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Old 09-10-2012, 08:33 AM
Franc Tireur Franc Tireur is offline
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Economy ‘highly mediocre,’ top forecaster says

Two percent is our current economic speed, Shenfeld said. “Some quarters will be above, and some will be weaker, but that’s roughly the trend rate of growth.”

He’s forecasting more of the same for next year.

“It’s highly mediocre,” he said.

Growth of 2% is just enough to keep the economy out of recession, enough to keep inflationary pressures from building, but not nearly fast enough to create the jobs the people need.

“At this point in the business cycle, we want more growth,” Shenfeld said.

A lot of economists out there accentuate the positives, and there are some positives: Household debts are being worked down, consumers’ incomes are up and so is their spending. Housing is beginning to recover.

Other economists see the glass as half-empty and getting emptier. They point to the drop in business confidence, the worries about collateral damage if Europe’s problems go from bad to worse, and the possibility of a hard landing in China.

And then, of course, there’s America’s own particularly exceptional madness known as the “fiscal cliff.”

Looking at it from his vantage point from across the northern border, Shenfeld comes down in the middle of that argument. At this point, he thinks the negatives just about balance out the positives, leaving us with — there’s that word again — “a very mediocre economy.”

Shenfeld expects the Federal Reserve to get back in the bond market, but he think the announcement of QE3 (quantitative easing 3) will wait until December to see if the politicians can resolve the fiscal cliff by then.

The fiscal cliff may already be having an impact on business confidence, but he says the main reason businesses are dialing back on their capital investments is simply lack of demand, not worries about taxes and regulations.

For businesses thinking of expanding, “the No. 1 criterium is: Do you need to do this to meet demand?” If the demand is not there, there’s no need to spend any money on equipment or new workers.

So do you think that protectionism quotas coupled with import taxes is a solution?
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:57 PM
Franc Tireur Franc Tireur is offline
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Stockman: 'The Fed Is the Heart of the Problem'
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