Sunday, October 19, 2008

Slowdown or recession?

"The US is plunging into a nasty recession with a lot of suffering to come even if policy makers succeed in unfreezing the credit markets” quipped Mr. Paul Krugman, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for economics and Professor of Princeton University and New York Times columnist in an interview. He referred the situation as “baked in” and continued to add that there was a lot of downward momentum and put the unemployment rate at 7per cent, the highest figure in the past five years. The chances of the US economy falling into recession intensified with the report that retail sales had fallen for the three straight months.
What is the difference between recession and slowdown?
Many people mistake economic slowdown for recession. However, textbooks define recession as a period of two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth as measured by a country’s GDP and is expected to last anywhere between six and eighteen months. Economic slowdown on the other hand is just a slower growth in economic activities. The impact of economic slowdown may affect particular sectors whereas recession will have a wide ranging impact on most of the industries.
What is the source of concern?
It all started with sub-prime crisis in the US and the reasons for the crisis are now known to everyone. It has resulted in fall in real estate prices across US as home loans were foreclosed and the starting price of many of the properties started with an asking price of $1.99. Many important things that followed suit included the fall of Lehman brothers and with a concomitant fall in the value of Dow Jones and NASDAQ to 29 per cent till this day.
I live outside the US and am I safe?
The international economy has become like a single family because of globalization and the interdependent nature of each sector. That is the reason why when US sneezes, the rest of the nations suffer from cold. It may sound like a joke but it is true because the US is the single largest producer of natural resources. Whenever the crude skyrockets, the impact will be felt more by the Asian tigers like China and India. So, it is not a question where do you live but you are affected by the slowdown in one way or other.
Be prepared for that and fasten your seat belt.


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