Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Wharton School: Global Economic Forecast for 2009


January 7, 2009

After a year of financial shock and sharp economic loss, 2009 is likely to be extremely difficult for the global economy, with investors, business leaders and policymakers struggling to find signs of recovery, according to Wharton faculty and academic partners around the world.

"It's all pretty negative," says Wharton finance professor Franklin Allen. "The economy is going into a recession and my own view is that it will be deep and quite long-lasting. There doesn't seem to be anything on the horizon that is a bright spot."

In the wake of crumbling stock markets, mounting bad debt and rising unemployment, policymakers are scrambling to devise strategies to restore stability and lay the groundwork for new growth. "There's no country in the world that's doing well," Allen continues. "Everybody is doing badly, with large amounts of debt and heading toward deflation," plus "unemployment and a rush by companies to fire people."

The collapse in the United States is different than in other industrialized countries around the world because the problems began in the financial sector and spread out into the broader economy, says Wharton management professor Mauro Guillén. In the rest of the world, problems in the real economy -- created largely by trouble in the United States -- led to weakness in financial markets. "In the United States, the key in 2009 is, 'Can we clear up the mess in the financial sector?' Unfortunately, I'm not very optimistic," says Guillén.

Wharton finance professor Richard Marston says he is shocked by the impact of the crisis on U.S. financial firms and markets. "To see Wachovia, Wash Mutual, Citi all gravely wounded. It's extraordinary." Marston contends that while the banks have been shored up, they are unlikely to lend for a long time. On top of that, he adds, the inability to securitize will constrain credit more than if banks alone had cut back on lending. (Continued here)

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