Normally back to back declines in quarterly GDP must occur to constitute a recession. However, in the 2000 recession, alternating quarterly contractions were observed. This pattern could well develop in 2008 since bloated inventories, the typical driver of consecutive quarterly declines, is not present. Also, the relatively stable private service sector constitutes a record share of the U.S. economy. Rather, a slow contraction of credit availability will cause the consumer to feel the impact of declining wealth from falling home prices, fewer employment opportunities, faltering wage gains, and a monstrous debt burden. This should cause the U.S. economy to rotate in a pattern of stagnant economic conditions, recessionary at times, and growth recessionary at others. The growing excess capacity of our capital structure, along with falling profits, will hinder capital spending increases, reinforcing slower consumption. Increases in federal government spending, along with improvement in our trade balance from shrinking imports, will provide stability in the aggregate economic statistics, while the domestic private economy contracts.
In this environment, short-term interest rates will continue to move downward, reinforced by several reductions in the administered Federal funds rate. The long end of the Treasury market will benefit from two factors. First, investor desire for risk-free assets will increase at a time when default rates will be soaring on other fixed income securities. Second, the overall reduction in credit market instruments will mean fewer alternatives for those desiring a fixed rate of return. By the end of 2008 we would expect new record low yields in Treasuries for this cycle.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Hoisington 4th Quarter Report
Hoisington Investment Management has released their 4th quarter report, in which they discuss their forecast for the upcoming year. They give a great analysis for why they see an upcoming recession lasting longer than most predictions. For the economic buff, this is a must-read. Summary below: