Will we see the Fed substantially increase fiscal and monetary stimulus?
*The Economist, October 9, 2008
“DEPRIVE a person of oxygen and he will turn blue, collapse and eventually die. Deprive economies of credit and a similar process kicks in. As the financial crisis has broadened and intensified, the global economy has begun to suffocate. That is why the world’s central banks have been administering emergency measures, including a round of co-ordinated interest-rate cuts on Wednesday October 8th. With luck they will prevent catastrophe. They are unlikely to avert a global recession.
According to the IMF’s most recent World Economic Outlook, published on Wednesday, the world economy is ‘entering a major downturn’ in the face of ‘the most dangerous shock’ to rich-country financial markets since the 1930s. The fund expects global growth, measured on the basis of purchasing-power parity (PPP), to come down to 3% in 2009, the slowest pace since 2002 and on the verge of what it considers to be a global recession. (The fund’s definition of global recession takes many factors into account, including the rate of population growth.) Given the scale of the financial freeze, the fund’s forecast looks optimistic. Other forecasters are convinced that a global recession is inevitable. Economists at UBS, for instance, expect global growth of only 2.2% in 2009.
The rich world’s economies were either shrinking, or close to it, long before September. Recent weeks have made a rich-world recession all but inevitable. America’s economy lost steam throughout the summer. Temporarily buoyed by fiscal stimulus and strong exports, output grew at a solid 2.8% annualised rate between April and June. But as the stimulus wore off, the job market worsened, credit tightened and consumer spending slid.”
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