Economist Nouriel Roubini says that an L-shaped near depression may be avoided given the policy measures undertaken by the Obama administration. All the same, in his RGE Monitor, he is now predicting that the current protracted U-shaped recession will not bottom out in the third quarter but will instead continue until next year:
One should recognize that US policy authorities – as well as the authorities of many other countries looked into the abyss of the risk of a near depression – given the free fall in global economic activity in the last two quarters – and decided to start using most of the weapons in their arsenals – bazookas, missiles, rockets, artillery, etc – in a financial policy equivalent of a Powell doctrine of overwhelming force in order to avoid a near depression. This is why now the risks of an L-shaped near depression – like the one that hit Japan after the bursting of its real estate and equity bubble – have been reduced.
We are still in a severe and deep and protracted U-shaped recession that – unlike the forecast of the current consensus economists – will not be over in Q3 but will last until the beginning of 2010. So there may be finally light at the end of the tunnel but later rather than sooner, in 2010 rather than in the second half of 2009. There are still significant downside risks and while optimists speak about green shoots there are still plenty of yellow weeds; and while second derivatives are becoming positive especially in the US but, partially, also in other countries, they are not positive enough yet to suggest that the recession will bottom out in Q3 – as predicted by the consensus – as opposed to some time in 2010. The toxic mess and damage caused by this leverage-driven financial crisis and economic recession – including a brutal shedding of employment that shows no sign of letting up – will take much longer to truly heal the financial markets, the financial institutions and the real economy.