Goldman Sachs: “Welcome To The Great Stagnation”
by Tyler Durden
A little under a year ago, with much pomp and circumstance, Goldman’s economic team proclaimed its multi-year long bearish outlook on the economy over, and on December 1 of 2010, issued a report in which it noted that it was turning a new leaf in its “bleak” perception of the economy, based in big part on its expectation that the combination of an ebullient monetary environment (QE2 has just been launched) and a cornucopic (sic) fiscal stimulus (the first, of many, payroll tax cuts had just been passed) would lead the economy to a sustained growth of not less than 4% (and led Zero Hedge to officially proclaim Goldman as having jumped the shark in conjunction with our prediction that a year hence the US economy would be contracting yet again). Zero Hedge was right, and Goldman was 100% wrong. Today, we however witness something different: in what seem to be a major paradigm shift within the firm’s strategic research team (not Jan Hatzius’ group but that of Dominic Wilson), the firm appears to officially give up on “recovery” as a modal outcome for both the US and the developed world, and instead aims a little lower. Far lower. The report is titled “From the ‘Great Recession’ to the ‘Great Stagnation’” and in an extended analysis looking at 150 years of historical data, it concludes that “those historical lessons suggest that the probability of stagnation in the current environment is much higher than usual, at about 40% for developed markets. Trends in Europe and the US are so far still following growth paths that would be typical of stagnations.” Looks like Goldman just proved us at least half right when we said in January that the keyword of 2011 would be “stagflation.” Luckily, the Fed and the world’s central banks still have 3 months in which to prove the second half of our prediction correct as well.