The USA

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Information about The USA
Business-Finance

Published on April 10, 2008

Author: Christian

Source: authorstream.com

The USA – what if…:  The USA – what if… Dr Terry O’Shaughnessy Tutorial Fellow in Economics, St Anne’s College, Oxford University & Oxford Analytica The USA – what if…:  The USA – what if… The US economy is set to slow in 2007. Most forecasters predict a “soft landing”. This will lead to some re-balancing of the world economy if European and Emerging Market economies continue to grow rapidly. The USA – what if…:  The USA – what if… But growth in both the US and in the rest of the world depends on assumptions and linkages which may be more fragile than they currently appear… …so that “re-balancing” could come to look uncomfortably like stumbling. Oxford Economics: World economy strongest for 30 years…:  Oxford Economics: World economy strongest for 30 years… The OECD’s view of the US is somewhat more pessimistic, especially for 2008…:  The OECD’s view of the US is somewhat more pessimistic, especially for 2008… But the OECD is encouraged that growth rates are converging…:  But the OECD is encouraged that growth rates are converging… …as are unemployment gaps.:  …as are unemployment gaps. Context I: China and India continue to boom…:  Context I: China and India continue to boom… China: 2007 policy changes::  China: 2007 policy changes: Exchange rate revaluation at a rate of 4-5% per annum probably set to continue. Lending rate raised from 6.12% to 6.39% in March – up from just under 6% a year ago. Further quantity tightening to be imposed on the banks. But bank loans account for less than 20% of investment funding – most is self-financed out of profits – and loans growth is not that high compared with India. Are the Chinese authorities really trying to cool the economy?:  Are the Chinese authorities really trying to cool the economy? There have been persistent statements about cooling GDP growth and investment since 2004 – but GDP has continued growing at double-digit rates with investment at 25-30%. Perhaps the aim to cool growth is not all that serious as long as inflation remains under control - OR policy doesn’t work? Recent talk of cooling down growth may simply be preparing China for a natural slowdown in 2008-2009 as numerous Olympics related projects come to an end. Context II: Oil prices:  Context II: Oil prices Context II: Oil prices:  Context II: Oil prices Context III: Business and consumer confidence:  Context III: Business and consumer confidence Context III: Business and consumer confidence:  Context III: Business and consumer confidence A key factor has been historically low real interest rates…:  A key factor has been historically low real interest rates… …leading to resurgent financial markets…:  …leading to resurgent financial markets… …with strong global profitability…:  …with strong global profitability… …and the perception that the world is a much less risky place.:  …and the perception that the world is a much less risky place. Context IV: Exchange rates:  Context IV: Exchange rates US inflation: headline and core inflation converging – but still “too high for comfort”:  US inflation: headline and core inflation converging – but still “too high for comfort” US Housing market I:  US Housing market I US Housing market II:  US Housing market II Downward revisions to 2007Q1 data:  Downward revisions to 2007Q1 data Estimates of US GDP growth in the first quarter of this year have been revised downwards from an annual rate of 1.3% to a rate of just 0.6%. Exports were weaker and imports stronger than initially estimated. Stockbuilding was also revised downwards. These revisions were partially offset by stronger consumer expenditure and construction investment. Downward revisions to 2007Q1 data:  Downward revisions to 2007Q1 data Pessimists may extrapolate from these data revisions and revise their medium term projections downward. Optimists – and here I include my colleagues at Oxford Economics – have suggested that the weak Q1 data will set the stage for a rebound in Q2. What might go wrong?:  What might go wrong? Financial fragility and the re-pricing of risk. Loss of faith in inflation targeting. US consumers and the personal savings ratio. Financial fragility and the re-pricing of risk :  Financial fragility and the re-pricing of risk Concerns about the US sub-prime mortgage market. February’s equity sell-off the end of the “carry trade”? The May - June bond market sell-off. The May – June bond market sell-off :  The May – June bond market sell-off Loss of faith in inflation targeting :  Loss of faith in inflation targeting Inflationary expectations have been contained even though global liquidity is at very high levels. Inflation targeting uses interest rates at the short end of the yield curve to influence long rates and thus activity levels. Success on both fronts requires that market participants continue to believe… US personal savings ratio 1980:1 – 2007:1:  US personal savings ratio 1980:1 – 2007:1 US consumers and the personal savings ratio:  US consumers and the personal savings ratio The US personal savings ratio has seen an extraordinary collapse over the past quarter century. 6% to 8% in the late 1980s 4% to 5% in the mid 1990s 2% in the first half-decade of this century …and now it is clearly negative… US consumers and the personal savings ratio:  US consumers and the personal savings ratio Up until now growing household wealth seems to have sustained this collapse in the savings ratio. All analysts agrees that a sudden return to even moderate levels of net household saving would drive both the US and the rest of the world into recession. But many are cautious about ‘crying wolf’ once again. US consumers and the personal savings ratio:  US consumers and the personal savings ratio Short-run worries – housing, wealth and consumption. Longer-run worries – can government keep its health-care and social security promises? US personal savings ratio 1980:1 – 2007:1:  US personal savings ratio 1980:1 – 2007:1

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