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Mystery of the Awful Economists (Part III)

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On April 13, 2005 @ 2:42 pm In Commodities,Economy,Markets | Comments Disabled

Last week, we observed that the WSJ was also wondering about the Dismal set (The Mystery of the Awful Economists, part 2 [1]).

The Journal [2] asked the Economists who had previously expected $50 oil to dampen economic growth what their thoughts were: "None feel that $50
oil will trigger a recession. Thirty-one percent said they feel oil would have
to be sustained at $80-89 a barrel to snuff out growth, while 48% believe crude
would have to top $90."

At the time, the Big Picture [1] observed:

"To be fair, the economists may have been right this time — only a
contraction may be more likely to take place in 2006 than in 2005.

No, I am not suggesting its guaranteed to occur, either then or now — its
just that the percentages go up the more: 1) stimulus fades; 2) higher rates
slow the real estate complex; 3) oil maintains increased prices for a longer
time; and 4) the U.S. current account deficits continue.

Perhaps time will proven the Economists right. It would be ironic if they
snatch defeat from the jaws of forecasting victory due to a bit of impatience .
. ."

Which leads to today’s 1pm IMF [3] release on World Economic Outlook [4] (which may be what’s pressuring the markets this afternoon). 

"The global economy will grow at a slower but solid pace in 2005, with higher
energy prices paring expansion, the International Monetary Fund said

The IMF once again predicted uneven growth, with strong results
by the U.S. and China, but sluggish performances in Europe and Japan.

In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF forecast overall
growth at 4.3% this year, down from 5.1% in 2004. It projected the U.S. economy
would grow 3.6%, down from 4.4% in 2004, but a bit better than the 3.5% rate it
forecast in September. The IMF said it "welcomed the continued strong
performance of the U.S. economy. With most forward-looking indicators remaining
solid, the expansion is set to continue in 2005."

Gee, that didn’t take too long to come true, did it? Turns out they were right after all.


UPDATE April 14, 2005 11:43a

Front page story of the WSJ today: 

Economy Shows Signs of Soft Patch As Oil, Rates Weigh on Consumers [5]

You had to see that one coming from miles away . . .



Global Growth to Slow Amid High Oil Prices [6]
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, April 13, 2005 12:59 p.m.

Economy Shows Signs of Soft Patch As Oil, Rates Weigh on Consumers [5]
Greg Ip and Jon E. Hilsenrath
The Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2005; Page A1

Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog

URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2005/04/mystery-of-the-awful-economists-part-iii/

URLs in this post:

[1] The Mystery of the Awful Economists, part 2: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2005/04/mystery_of_the_.html

[2] Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111270255444198252,00.html

[3] IMF: http://imf.org/

[4] World Economic Outlook: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/external/pubs/ft/weo/2005/01/index.htm

[5] Economy Shows Signs of Soft Patch As Oil, Rates Weigh on Consumers: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111339918149605783,00.html

[6] Global Growth to Slow Amid High Oil Prices: http://online.wsj.com/article_print/0,,SB111339918149605783,00.html

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