Tags: deflation

Kaufman: No Deflation Yet

By Dan Weil   |   Thursday, 08 Jan 2009 11:55 AM

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Henry Kaufman earned the nickname Dr. Doom when he called the economic and financial woes of those years.

But now, despite the current economic crisis, the chief economist at Salomon Brothers isn't so pessimistic.

While he agrees with the consensus view that we are going through the worst recession since World War II, Kaufman differs from those who forecast a major wave of deflation.

"I would start to worry about that if I saw a real reduction in prices of services," including health care and education, Kaufman told the 2009 Reuters Investment Summit. "Those things have been rather sticky."

A bigger threat is inflation "down the road," thanks to the Fed's injection of billions of dollars into the banking system, Kaufman says.

But that's a necessary evil, he explains. "A little bit of inflation now would be a helpful development," buoying the economy.

In any case, the financial turmoil isn't over yet, Kaufman says. He sees banks around the globe posting big losses through the first half of the year.

"We're not through the credit crisis by any means," he says.

Many disagree with Kaufman about deflation.

San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Janet Yellen told a recent economic conference, "The odds are high that over the next few years, inflation will decline below desirable levels."

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In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Henry Kaufman earned the nickname Dr. Doom when he called the economic and financial woes of those years. But now, despite the current economic crisis, the chief economist at Salomon Brothersisn't so pessimistic. While he agrees with the...
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