Saturday, February 27, 2010

Double Dip Recession Risk Is Near: CIO

Double Dip Recession Risk Is Near: CIO

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The global economy looks set to plunge back into recession as the sovereign debt pressure currently rocking Europe intensifies, Ashok Shah, CIO of London & Capital, told CNBC Wednesday.

"There's a risk of a double dip recession round the corner," Shah said. "Given the sovereign debt crisis that is going around the Mediterranean countries, this is going to put a lot of pressure on Europe."

The economic outlook for Europe is deteriorating very rapidly and that is adding to the factors dragging on the economic recovery, Shah told CNBC.

- Watch the full interview with Ashok Shah above.

Concerns over the strength of Europe's power-house economy, Germany, deepened Wednesday after its gross domestic product growth was shown to have stagnated in the fourth quarter. German private consumption fell in the quarter, official data showed, suggesting the country's economic recovery may not be assured.

Shah also pointed out that other major European economies such as Italy have still not escaped the recession.

If the economy does slip back into recession, governments won't be able to tackle the problem with more stimulus measures because they are already doing everything they can in that direction, Shah said.

"Everything that the authorities can do is on the table right now. The key question is can they keep it going rather than increasing it because the room to increase is very limited," he said.

It's too early for debt-laden governments to start cutting their public deficits because the recovery is so fragile, he told CNBC as Greece was gripped by protests against planned cuts to its public spending.

Meanwhile the cost for countries tapping fresh capital is rising, which could be a sign that the stock market is about to stall, he said.

"The credit default swaps on the sovereigns have been rising quite rapidly. This is telling you that the cost of capital is rising and when the cost of capital is rising in essence equity markets really can't make any progress," he said.

"After the huge rallies of last year I think it's time for the markets to consolidate," he added.

Investors need to see firm plans from governments to reduce their budget deficits, Shah said.

Tim Harris, CEO of Harris Capital, told CNBC that further weakness in the economic outlook could spark a flurry of selling in the stock market.

"People are the conservative side of neutral right now and it's going to take a macro sign, a crack in growth more so than inflation, which is going to get people to run for the hills," Harris said.

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