Thursday, December 27, 2012

Structural headwinds may reduce New Normal growth

Our continuing series excerpts from PIMCO--

PIMCO | Investment Outlook - Strawberry Fields – Forever?: " . . . there are numerous other structural headwinds that may reduce real growth even below the New Normal 2% rate that Bernanke has just confirmed, not only in the U.S. but in developed economies everywhere. They are: 1) Debt/Delevering . . . In addition to sovereign debt levels which were the primary focus of the Reinhart/Rogoff studies, it is clear that financial institutions and households face similar growth headwinds. . . . 2) Globalization . . . Now, however, these tailwinds are diminishing, producing an airspeed which inexorably slows relative to the standards of prior decades. Is it any wonder that markets now move up or down as much on the basis of policy changes coming out of China as opposed to the U.S. or Euroland? If China and the accompanying benefits of globalization slow, so too may developed economy growth rates. 3) Technology . . . Almost a century ago, Keynes alerted the economic community to a “new disease,” what he called “technological unemployment” where jobs couldn’t be replaced as fast as they were being destroyed by automation. . . . Retrain, rehire into higher paying and value-added jobs? That may be the political myth of the modern era. There aren’t enough of those jobs. A structurally higher unemployment rate of 7% or more is the feared “whisper” number in Fed circles. Technology may be leading to slower, not faster economic growth despite its productive benefits. . . 4) Demographics . . . demographic population changes are becoming a silent growth killer. . . . "

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