Monday, August 29, 2011

[Video] ECRI Updates its Thought on Potential Recession

The ECRI has been nailing the larger macro moves quite well the past few years, so I continue to monitor whatever they say.   There longer leading indicators started to take a quite neutral to bearish view this spring, which at the time was clearly out of the consensus.  At that time the herd said whatever slowdown we might have, would be temporary and many were still looking for 3-4% GDP growth for the second half. 

Some earlier videos here:
[Jun 14, 2011: Video - ECRI's Achuthan - Prolonged U.S. Slowdown Underway]
[Jul 7, 2011: Video - ECRI's Achuthan Sticking to Script that Slowdown is not Transitory]

The latest update would show no imminent change to that outlook per Yahoo Daily Ticker.  However they do not yet think we are in recession, nor are ready to declare we will be headed into one.

  • Last spring, when most economists were talking about a second-half recovery, Economic Cycle Research Institute co-founder Lakshman Achuthan came on The Daily Ticker and declared a global summer slowdown was coming.
  • Now that Wall Street consensus has turned extremely bearish on the economy, we figured it was time to check back with Achuthan to get his current view.  "We've got more weakness in front of us," he says. "We don't see any upturn yet."
  • Still, ECRI is not ready to declare a new recession is imminent, much less already started as many others contend. "The jury is still out," Achuthan says. "Our indicators have not gone to the point where we can definitely say 'boom it's a recession.' Problem is they haven't turned up either, it's a very persistent decline in these indicators."
  • As for the myriad other economists now putting odds on a recession, Achuthan believes they are playing a "dangerous" game. "It's the illusion of precision," he says. "If you take a look at whoever's making those calls [and] look at their track record of calling recessions I think you'll be unimpressed."

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