NEW YORK—The United States will not fall back into another recession, Benjamin Pace, U.S. chief investment officer, Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management, told a press briefing Tuesday.
Admittedly, there were a number of legitimate worries in the summer, Pace said.
“Not just about the Eurozone, but about economic growth, a double-digit recession and the Japanese earthquake that turned into an tsunami and then a nuclear crisis,” he said. “When you have any disruption, it could slow the economy down, as seen on automotive industry and supplies.
“We are less nervous now,” Pace continued. “The U.S. is still the world’s leading economy, from a directional standpoint. And the sense now is that we were not fat, economically or in terms of supplies or human resources [going into the recession]. The U.S. consumer is not dead, as evidenced by Black Friday and back-to-school sales. Unemployment is tipping down, salaries are increasing.”
Most importantly, Pace stressed: “Businesses have never been healthier in terms of cash balance sheets and low debt ratios. We have an obviously overleveraged government—but an underleveraged corporate sector that will likely spend its cash on shareholder-friendly efforts, such as cash buybacks, mergers and acquisitions and dividends.”
This turnaround has already been documented in third-quarter double-digit capital investments, Pace said.
Europe, on the other hand, is entering a “relatively shallow, garden-variety” recession that will be buffered by the “strength of the northern tier,” namely the U.K., Germany, France and the Netherlands, Pace said. GDP growth in the EU will be negative in the first two quarters of 2012 but will stage a comeback in the second half of the year, Pace said. Deutsche Bank forecasts GDP growth of 1% for Europe in the coming year.
Lee Barney writes for Money Management Executive.