Friday, November 16, 2007

Recession and possible depression. Can I get some prozac with that?

Finally the "recession" talk is making headlines. The only thing right now that drives me wild is that there is still a discussion that the US will face a recession.... If the US would use a more "realistic" formula I assume that the recession is already here.... The clearest sign might be that Starbucks reported the first decline ever in customer visits. Hmm, five dollar coffee is a necessity right? Watch for 7-11 to pick up all the old Starbucks customers who downgrade. The good old substitution effect. Take a look at the warnings we have seen from Coach, Kohl's, JC Penny, etc. They are all reporting sharp drop offs in traffic YOY. Walmart is reporting various signs of consumer downgrading as well. But Ferrari is sold out for the year. So at least the rich are still doing well. I know you were worried for a minute that we were in serious trouble.

IN 1929, days after the stockmarket crash, the Harvard Economic Society reassured its subscribers: “A severe depression is outside the range of probability”. In a survey in March 2001, 95% of American economists said there would not be a recession, even though one had already started. Today, most economists do not forecast a recession in America, but the profession's pitiful forecasting record offers little comfort Recession in America / America's vulnerable economy

Also in case you think BusinessWeek and The Economist forgot to take their anti-depressants I would encourage you to think about what the CEO of the one largest banks in the US said today:

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf dropped the "D" word today: "We have not seen a nationwide decline in housing like this since the Great Depression," Stumpf said at a banking conference in New York. Stumpf said the second-largest U.S. mortgage lender and fifth-largest U.S. bank was "not immune" from the storm, but was well-positioned to ride it out, despite expectations for "elevated" credit losses from home equity loans into 2008. Are we in a recession? Post your thoughts or anecdotal evidence. Free speech still works here.

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