“The era of good feelings associated with the heyday of globalization has gone forever,” say top economists. I will agree and believe this is an entirely good thing that will enable our shattered world to recover from a devastating global recession. Often times we mix up what feels good at the time with what is the right course of action over the long term. The great recession has taken its last breath but has taught us a great many valuable lessons during its pre-destiny and ultimate reign. The main lesson being that open competition is good. Once we start regulating how much we can achieve we start sabotaging our own continued growth and prosperity. Linking a global currency to a global government would have been a catastrophe. I’m glad that the wise and learned have taken this lesson out of the tragedies of the past 3 years.
Recovery will continue to be slow around the world, but we are in a state of recovery nonetheless. The biggest difference from days past will be which countries will lead the charge to mending our torn financial fabric. In this edition be prepared for some surprise trends and projections unlike many are foreseeing. I caution you however as you digest this information that you may think I’m totally off my rocker on some of my predictions, but recall, I was almost entirely correct about last year’s winners and losers. I will begin evaluating several countries and then streamline my analysis with industries to watch. Happy New Year and good health in 2011 China’s silk road economic belt.
CONDITION OF THE US
US academics are projecting a 3.4% growth in the US this year. I will disagree. My mark for US growth in 2011 will top off at 1.5% but we are most likely to experience a 0.9% growth by year’s end December 31st 2011. The US is riding high after strong 2010 end of year retail figures rose by 3.1% over 2009 but it is overlooking that the expectation was at 3.4% and November figures were a full 2.1% higher than December. The trend should have been reversed to justify complete optimism in a stronger growth pattern. Economic growth and sales will also continue to weaken as inventory cycles top out.
Meanwhile, households and banks are still fixing their balance sheets and will keep a wary eye on credit expansion further crippling any long-term sustained growth above 1.5%. Banks will loosen credit by the third quarter of 2012.
Further, the dark cloud of unemployment still looms heavy over the United States horizon. Consequently, corporate gains should peak in the first quarter and then level off as high unemployment and consumer confidence subside and take their toll on the momentum of profit increases by businesses. Indeed the unemployment rate in the US fell in December; however the 103,000 jobs that were created last month are well short of the 200,000 per month figure needed to sustain stronger growth and lasting improvements to an economic condition. Our average pace for job creation last year was 94,000 per month. Moreover, 8.4 million jobs were shed over the span of the last 3 years, but only 1.1 million were added in the private sector. Government expansion does not contribute to an economic recovery, neither has it done so historically nor will it do so in the future.
Though in fact, the government has itself cut 20,000 jobs last month. At December’s employment pace, it will take until 2016 to make up for the jobs lost and finally establish a balance in the marketplace. As of today, 6.76 million Americans have stopped looking for work and in a recent survey say they will not look until the middle of next year. With those not receiving unemployment and those who have forgone the application thereof altogether our real national unemployment figure is closer to 10.8% as opposed to the public figure of 9.4%. Though, recovery in the US will be faster than 2016, I anticipate tolerable levels of employment by the end of 2012. However, we expect a 5.8% decrease in average salaries from $50,303 to $47,382 by this time.
CLASH WITH CHINA
Continued conflicts with China will further hinder US economic expansion. In addition to the gap between political ideologies the following factors will heighten the tensions between the two nations. First, the rise of China is becoming increasingly associated with job losses for ordinary Americans and a rising threat to American power. Second, China’s currency policy which is aimed at keeping the Yuan undervalued against the dollar will further aggravate trade relations between the two nations and protectionist legislation in the US will rise sharply. The move to make the Yuan (renminbi) a global currency for international trade has already begun. It has launched trading of it in the US. Third, the Chinese military buildup in the Pacific has gotten the US business population and governing bodies on edge and up in arms. The J-20, a new Chinese stealth fighter has just debuted on the global stage. In response the US will step up military exercises in the region opening the doors to economic policies as the weapon of choice. Additionally, China’s continued reluctance to tighten the squeeze on Iran while instead pursuing their own energy strategies will further harm relations with the US.
China’s economy will see an 8.4% growth in GDP but look for hostilities between the Communist party and the rising tide of young intellectuals from within who disagree with the current order. The US will be blamed for this movement. China will engineer a slowdown in the Asian markets.
Uzbekistan will lead Asia in economic growth this year with an 8.5% increase, followed by China then India with a GDP of 8.2% and we will see inflation in India begin to fall back to normal levels from last year’s 10% to about 6.4%. Afghanistan holds a commanding fourth place in Asia with my prediction of a 7.2% growth this year, followed by Sri Lanka at 6.6%, Indonesia at 6%, and Kazakhstan at 5.5%. Australia will be a safe place to put money as it is expected to achieve a 2.6% growth this year.
MIDDLE-EAST AND AFRICA
This region’s predictions bear the most surprises of all. Ethiopia will carry the torch for the Mid-East and North Africa with a solid 10% GDP this year; it will be followed by Tanzania at 7.1%, Angola at 7%, Iraq with 6%; Lebanon with 5.8% despite the government collapse last week, and Syria with 4.6%. The Gulf States will remain solid hovering at an average 3% GDP, but the greatest gains will be made with the countries mentioned hereto.
Europe is a battered child that will require a great deal of rehabilitation for the next five years. It will demonstrate the least impressive gains next to North America but leading the pack will be Russia with a 4% GDP improvement over last year. Ukraine will be firmly on Russia’s heels with a 3.9% GDP, trailed by Turkey at 3.6%, Poland at 3.4%, Estonia with 3.2%, Latvia 3%, Lithuania with 2.9%. Greece will play the largest role in stifling the European economy as a whole with a negative growth of -3.5%, Portugal will play second anchor with a negative growth of -1%. Germany, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland will stay fast with a GDP figure lingering between a 1% to 1.6% growth pattern.