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Monday, August 15, 2011 1:59 PM

Global Recession Warning

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Daiwa Capital Markets economist Kevin Lai says Hong Kong Recession Risk Is Global Warning

Of nine economists in a Bloomberg News survey, Lai came closest to predicting a 0.5 percent contraction in the city’s economy in the second quarter. Only two of the analysts expected gross domestic product to decline from the previous three months. The government released the data Aug. 12.

“Global demand is really weak and we expect the U.S. and Europe will see a sharp slowdown, or near-zero growth, next year,” Lai said in a phone interview in the city today. “A recession is a reality for Hong Kong.”

An 11 percent decline in Hong Kong’s merchandise exports in the second quarter from the previous three months highlights the weakness, Lai said. In a note, he described the economy as the world’s “most externally-driven” and said that a slump has “grave implications.”

The world economy is “entering a new danger zone” and international policy makers need to take steps to restore confidence, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said yesterday in Sydney. A U.S. debt-rating downgrade and a widening European debt crisis triggered a global rout of equities.
Some economists define a global recession as a slowdown in combined global growth under 2%. That is a near-given.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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