Tags: election | confidence | global | economy

Election Results Won’t Bring Confidence Back

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Tuesday, 06 Nov 2012 10:01 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Tomorrow we will finally know who will occupy the White House for the next four years and what the U.S. Congress and Senate will look like, if there is no recount anywhere.

Whatever the results are, one thing is for sure, the United States will have to start reducing the size of its debt in a serious fashion. How that should be accomplished remains an open question, with all the political hurdles that probably will remain in place for the foreseeable future. I don’t expect uncertainties about this hugely complex problem to disappear in the near future, as I can’t see the political “divisions” coming to an abrupt end.

What’s for sure is that federal income from tax collection will have to go up and spending will have to go down. Again, how that will be achieved will be defined by the newly (re-)elected decision makers in Washington. Again, no certainty here.

What’s also for sure is that the “real” unemployment rate, which now stands at 10.6 percent when calculated on the basis of the labor force participation rate, will have to come down. It is the same as when President Barack Obama took office. Unfortunately, for now, the civilian labor force participation rate appears to be remaining in contraction, or at best, in stabilization mode. It will have to change direction before we finally could start talking of a sustainable recovery in the United States. I’m sorry, but I can’t see that happening anytime soon.

This won’t be an easy task because U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) would have to grow at least 3 percent for years to come, and we know, irrespective of who wins the election today, the coming change in fiscal policy will shave at least 1 percent from GDP in the coming years.

Long-term investors shouldn’t expect growth aid coming from outside the United States. According to Ernst & Young’s seventh Global Capital Confidence Barometer survey, leading global companies from 41 countries see little immediate prospect of a recovery for the global economy, while many economists think this situation could persist for three years or longer. Global economic confidence has been dampened because of the relentless ongoing eurozone crisis and slowing growth in emerging markets. In the meantime, the leading companies are refocusing (once again?) on cost reductions and performance improvements. To me, that doesn’t assure good employment creation in the vast majority of the leading companies in the world for some time to come.

In case confirmation was needed, yesterday in Mexico, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors “warned” the world in their final communiqué that global growth remains modest and downside risks are still elevated, due to possible delays in the complex implementation of recent policy announcements in Europe, a potential sharp fiscal tightening in the United States, securing funding for this year’s budget in Japan, weaker growth in some emerging markets and additional supply shocks in some commodity markets. The reduction of global imbalances has not been sufficient, and in many countries the process of necessary deleveraging by the private and public sectors is ongoing and unemployment remains high.

All that said, recent money flows as observed in New York show acceleration in the ongoing net selling of the euro, while there has been a simultaneous sharp pick-up in net dollar buying, with U.S. Treasuries the strongest net bought across the board.

I can’t see today’s election results bringing confidence back. Economical, financial and geopolitical uncertainties will continue to dominate markets all over the globe. Until those uncertainties disappear, the dollar should continue getting stronger. Please don’t take me wrong, this doesn’t mean it will go on forever, but it could easily go on for the foreseeable future. No, the topping process in the dollar is not in sight yet.

I still expect an aggressive downturn on both sides of the Atlantic in equities. Don't get scared, but I still expect final bottoming around 2016. For long-term investors, accumulating gold when corrections take place should remain on their radar. Of course, I don’t have a crystal ball and could be wrong.

Finally, keep in mind the next important election will take place in Israel on Jan. 22. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu already pledged in a prerecorded Channel 2 (Israel) interview that aired on Monday night that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons if he is re-elected. He also said international leaders, including Obama and French President François Hollande, have agreed that Israel has a right to defend itself.

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HansParisis
Tomorrow we will finally know who will occupy the White House for the next four years and what the U.S. Congress and Senate will look like, if there is no recount anywhere.
election,confidence,global,economy
748
2012-01-06
Tuesday, 06 Nov 2012 10:01 AM
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