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Experts warn of challenges in slow global recovery

The pace of recovery in the US is slower than predicted, experts yesterday said at a conference focusing on the ailing giant's economy.

Kathleen Stephansen, chief economist and senior managing director at AIG Asset Management, as well as a board member of the Global Interdependence Center, said that the pace of recovery from the global recession in the US would not pick up until 2015.

She added: “It will have taken ten years for the normalisation to reach this point. It's ten years of major structural changes, adjustments and slow growth.

“It underscores the fact that for those who had anticipated a quick recovery, it really is an awakening call. It's just a very slow and arduous adjustment which takes place.”

Ms Stephansen said that, if it had not been for the Federal Reserve Bank pumping money into the economy, the recovery would be even slower.

She was speaking at an international meeting hosted by the Global Interdependence Center (GIC), a US-based international think-tank set up to promote global dialogue and free trade, and Bermuda's CFA Society, a group of island-based chartered financial analysts.

Ms Stephansen said: “When the Fed is not in the game, we see a significant slowdown in economic growth. It's going to be tough for the Fed to end quantitative easing. The outcome, in my mind is for muted continuing growth.”

And she added that the Chinese economy, the most important after the US, had also slowed.

She predicted: “Global growth is set to be steady, but weaker than what we have seen just prior to the crisis.”

Herb Taylor, vice-president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and a GIC board member, said he believed it was “prudent” for the Fed to wind down its programme of large-scale asset purchases (LSAPs) which were aimed at bolstering the US economy, in “an orderly way in the next few months”.

And he added that the impact of the LSAP programme in the US “may be less than expected”.

Bermuda's economy is closely linked to the US and the island's dollar is pegged to the fortunes of its US equivalent.

Michael Bryan, vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said that predictions of growth for this year had been proved to be over-optimistic.

Mr Taylor, who stressed he was speaking in a personal capacity, added that forecasts had suggested 2013 US growth rates of four to 4.5 percent, but that recent data predicted “at best two percent or something lower”.

He said: “On the basis of the data, we are on the same growth pattern as we were when the recovery began”.

Doug Duncan, the chief economist at the massive US Fannie Mae — the Federal National Mortgage Association — said that growth had been hit because high US government spending to shore up the ailing economy had led to fears of higher taxes in the future.

But he added he expected to see higher levels of house building — a key economic indicator — up 200,000 units from the current 950,000 homes.

But he warned: “We don't expect it to be realised for at least the next couple of years.”

And Ed Keon, managing director and portfolio manager at Quantative Management Associates — referring to the budget crisis in the US which has shut many government services, said: “I'm very nervous about what might happen over the next two or three months, but I'm very optimistic about what might happen over the next two or three years.”

Kathleen Stephansen, chief economist and senior managing director at AIG Asset Management.

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Published October 11, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 10, 2013 at 6:55 pm)

Experts warn of challenges in slow global recovery

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