Jim O’Neill, the investment chief for Goldman Sachs, says the selloff in stocks and commodities is overdone. He sees U.S. growth on track for 2011 at between 3 percent and 3.5 percent — in line with the views of some at the Federal Reserve.
“If I am right, stocks will recover and Treasurys will fall,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.
O’Neill, chairman of asset management for Goldman, is best known for creating the “Brazil, Russia, India, China” (BRIC) investment strategy, which posits that growth in the largest developing economies is likely to outpace the developed world in the years to come.
In another, earlier interview, with Bloomberg News, O’Neill said fears of a second-half slowdown in the United States were overblown and that investors were making a mistake to build cash at this point.
“Every little problem that crops up somewhere in the world is not going to create another black swan,” he said.
Part of the new thesis for Goldman is that falling commodities prices — normally an indicator of slowing growth — are not a bad thing for economies now but give them room to adjust to later, higher prices.
In the short-term, lower commodity prices reduce inflation pressures.
Falling inflation then allows the Federal Reserve and other major central banks to keep easy money policies that have pumped up asset prices like stocks.
“At a minimum, we are likely to encounter more mini periods of volatility, where rising commodity prices, food and energy in particular, choke off some economic activity as consumers and business adjust to the higher costs,” he told clients in a recent report.
“In countries where overall inflation rises more because of these rising prices and central banks tighten monetary policy, subsequent tightening financial conditions will slow down growth and probably lessen their contribution to the demand for the commodities in the first place,” O’Neill wrote.
“It appears as though we might be going through such a period right now.”
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