Deep economic pain ahead for the U.S. and the world: Simon Hunt
The U.S. and other major industrialized economies face more pain ahead, with the world "in a balance-sheet depression" that could make another credit crisis likely. The world economy will go through a period of deleveraging through at least the year 2018. In the meantime, the U.S. is predicted to slip into another recession either in 2012 or 2013, according to a November-December economic report from Simon Hunt Strategic Services, based in Surrey, England. As this less than optimistic report hits the markets, The Commerce Department is also advising Americans that third-quarter gross domestic product is lower than previously thought, dropping from a 2.5% growth estimate to 2% in the final report. Economists with Econoday said the downward vision was "primarily was due to a downward revision to inventory investment," the equivalent of a 0.43 percentage point lower contribution to GDP growth." Slowing activity in the areas of personal consumption, residential investment and government purchases also slowed growth for the period. Looking forward, Simon Hunt says the U.S., Europe and China will face deep financial troubles in the 2012-to-2018 era. The study sees the next decade and, even beyond, as a volatile period that will include the paying down of debt, slowing trade, aging populations and government commitments that will outpace workforce levels, making it difficult for government's to fund their debt obligations. The report, in a decidedly pessimistic view of the future, calls the truth ugly and the solutions painful. "But, policymakers will not own up to this simple description of the world economy, preferring to put band-aids on gaping wounds. The truth, though both ugly and painful, is that the world is heading toward its second and, arguably, most serious global credit crisis within five years of the first," the study said. The report highlights the U.S. deficit as one area of extreme volatility. It now should be clear that debt slows growth, and America's current debt levels are unsustainable. On Monday, the congressional super committee admitted defeat in its efforts to forge a bipartisan compromise on U.S. deficit reduction, which will trigger automatic cuts in the years ahead. Simon Hunt says the next decade and a half will offer some periods of reprieve, but they will be short since deleveraging decades of debt is a long, painful process. The firm sees rolling recessions that will begin in 2013 and run through 2018. By 2018, the long period of paying down debt will have run its course and world production could grow as much as 3% per year through 2030. A demographic shift in the U.S., European Union and China also will derail rapid growth. Citing a study from consulting firm McKinsey & Co., the research report says aging in these developing countries will slow growth in household financial wealth by more than two-thirds across countries like the United States, Japan and Europe going forward. McKinsey claims slower growth will deplete household wealth by 36% in the year 2024, cutting away $31 trillion. Write to Kerri Panchuk.