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Tags: Roubini | Perfect | Storm | global

Roubini: Global Economic ‘Perfect Storm’ Brewing With No Place to Hide

Friday, 15 June 2012 01:26 PM EDT

A global economic storm is set to unleash in 2013 and there are no safe harbors to ride it out, says New York University economist Nouriel Roubini.

The European debt crisis continues to build, while Asian economies are cooling and Middle East tensions involving Iran's nuclear ambitions are likely to flare up again.

That leaves the United States as an investment safe harbor — for now.

Editor's Note: This Wasn’t an Accident — Experts Testify on Financial Meltdown

Yields on the 10-year Treasury note recently plunged to below 1.5 percent on demand from investors seeking shelter from Europe.

Yields fall when bond prices rise, and falling yields reflect investor perception of lower risk.

But the United States carries its own problems, Roubini says.

"U.S. economic performance is weakening, with first-quarter growth a miserly 1.9 percent – well below potential. And job creation faltered in April and May, so the U.S. may reach stall speed by year end," Roubini writes in a Project Syndicate column.

Furthermore, tax breaks are set to expire at the end of this year when automatic spending cuts kick in, a combination dubbed as a fiscal cliff that could send the country into recession next year even if Congress acts now to prevent it.

"Worse, the risk of a double-dip recession next year is rising: even if what looks like a looming U.S. fiscal cliff turns out to be only a smaller source of drag, the likely increase in some taxes and reduction of some transfer payments will reduce growth in disposable income and consumption," Roubini says.

"Moreover, political gridlock over fiscal adjustment is likely to persist, regardless of whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney wins November’s presidential election. Thus, new fights on the debt ceiling, risks of a government shutdown, and rating downgrades could further depress consumer and business confidence, reducing spending and accelerating a flight to safety that would exacerbate the fall in stock markets."

The U.S. economy grew 1.9 percent in the first quarter of this year, down from an original estimate of 2.2 percent.

Economists worry the country might not be growing fast enough to achieve escape velocity and break free from the pull of a fresh slowdown.

Like a plane that moves too slowly, the economy may hit stall speed and tank, and that doesn't bode well for President Barack Obama, experts say.

"Historically, presidents don't usually get re-elected when the economy is performing as sluggishly as it is now," says Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight, according to Reuters.

"Many people out there, if you asked them in surveys, they'd say they still view the economy as being in recession."

Editor's Note: This Wasn’t an Accident — Experts Testify on Financial Meltdown

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Friday, 15 June 2012 01:26 PM
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