Prof Nouriel Roubini has long been correctly bearish about the economy, and was one of the first to highlight the deflation risk. In a new interview, he sets out his thoughts for 2009, and concludes:
“I don’t believe we are going to be in a depression – but we could end up like Japan that had essentially economic stagnation for a decade with deflation. You know, the “L”-shaped recession.
“At this point, the “U”-shaped recession could turn into an “L”-shaped recession if we don’t fix the financial system, and the credit crisis becomes worse and if we don’t get a massive fiscal stimulus. So, a lot depends on our policy reaction. If our policy reaction is appropriate, by 2010 there will be some recovery of growth.
“The only risk is that the recovery of growth could be so weak that it feels like a recession even though we are technically out of it. So there is a risk of something like a Japanese-style, multiyear economic stagnation. I would not rule it out, but it is not my benchmark scenario.
“I think there is a one-third probability it will end up that way, but a two-thirds probability that we will end up in a severe, two-year-long recession. And that would be by any standard the worst recession that the U.S. has experienced in the last 60 years.”