Paulson says credit crisis far from over

No, no that Paulson. Instead, we’re talking about John Paulson, the hedge fund manager that moved to the top of the class by shorting subprime in 2007 — and the now-iconic investor thinks the crisis yet has legs. At the GAIM International 2008 hedge fund conference in Monaco, Paulson said a recession was coming, and that a huge opportunity in distressed debt was on the horizon. Via Reuters:

“I believe we’re going to go into recession, I think the second half [of the year] will be worse than the first half, and I think the recession will last into 2009…. The primary factor leading to recession will be a decline in consumer spending, and I believe that will be more pronounced in the coming months.” … He also said his funds had minimum exposure to equity markets because of a likely recession and that it was too early to start distressed debt investing, though a huge opportunity would eventually emerge. “I do think long-term distressed presents an opportunity that is as much as $10 trillion. That is a reflection of how much the credit markets were overvalued on the upside.”

Paulson joins a growing chorus of financial market participants that see a bloody back half of 2008 coming. RBS chief credit strategist Bob Janjuah warned clients Wednesday to prepare for a “nasty” crunch in the back half of this year, while Morgan Stanley warned of a pending currency crisis and strong recession due to “transatlantic tensions” over monetary policy. Paulson, of course, rose to the top of the hedge fund ranks during 2007 by pouring into short positions against subprime MBS. Trader Monthly estimated in April that his take was well over $3 billion last year alone.

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