Although few economists believe there’s more than a 50% chance of a recession, the chorus of voices pointing to that possibility is growing, the Centre Daily Times reports.And there are three main factors that could cause that to happen, according to economists: how quickly banks resume readily granting consumers and businesses loans, whether housing prices continue to fall and whether the combination of those two factors puts the brakes on consumer spending.

“We’ve lowered our 2008 growth forecast to 1.5%, down from 2.3% previously and 1.8% in 2007. We now expect a consumer recession for the firm time in 17 years,” according to a forecast report from Merrill Lynch.

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