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Should central banks be doing more?

Marketplace Contributor Jun 6, 2012
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Should central banks be doing more?

Marketplace Contributor Jun 6, 2012
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Jeremy Hobson: Josh Brown of Fusion Analytics joins us live as he does each Wednesday. Good morning, Josh.

Josh Brown: Good morning.

Hobson: Let’s start with the problem that’s being talked about more and more right now, and that is that the world economy is starting to slow down a little. Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, said last night he thinks the chances the U.S. is heading back into a recession are very low. What do you think?

Brown: So China is probably in technical recession already, or headed there very shortly. Europe is basically a giant recession. It’s very tough for us to say that the U.S. can decouple. So we’ll have trouble; it doesn’t mean that we necessarily have to have a contraction, but it wouldn’t be all that surprising. So I think at this point, we’re kind of looking at it as a 40 percent probability.

Hobson: Forty percent. A lot of people are looking to central banks for help, and I want to ask you about that because I just mentioned that the ECB did not change their interest rate, and I saw an article today headlined ‘Save us, Bernanke: You’re our only hope.’ But should the central banks be doing more?

Brown: What a bullish headline that is. You know, at a certain point — and you’re heard this term used before probably by me — the central banks are really pushing on a string. In the context of a balance sheet recession, when people still need to de-lever, adding more liquidity doesn’t do much other than deflating the actual cost of the debt. So I think obviously people are expecting central banks at a certain point to come up with the grand compromise that will include money-printing and lowering rates, but it’s also going to have to include things like easing off on the austerity demands of countries that simply can’t afford it anymore, rotating debt around, recapitalizing banks. It’s never just one tool; it’s never just one fix once things get to this point.

Hobson: Josh Brown of Fusion Analytics, thanks as always.

Brown: Thank you.

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