By Shamim Adam -Jun 12, 2011 10:55 PM CT
Mon Jun 13 03:55:12 GMT 2011<span id=”__mce” data-mce-type=”bookmark”></span>A “perfect storm” of fiscal woe in the U.S., a slowdown in China, European debt restructuring and stagnation in Japan may converge on the global economy, New York University professor Nouriel Roubini said.
There’s a one-in-three chance the factors will combine to stunt growth from 2013, Roubini said in a June 11 interview in Singapore. Other possible outcomes are “anemic but OK” global growth or an “optimistic” scenario in which the expansion improves.
“There are already elements of fragility,” he said.“Everybody’s kicking the can down the road of too much public and private debt. The can is becoming heavier and heavier, and bigger on debt, and all these problems may come to a head by 2013 at the latest.”
Elevated U.S. unemployment, a surge in oil and food prices, rising interest rates in Asia and trade disruption from Japan’s record earthquake threaten to sap the world economy. Stocks worldwide have lost more than $3.3 trillion since the beginning of May, and Roubini said financial markets by the middle of next year could start worrying about a convergence of risks in 2013.
The MSCI AC World Index has tumbled 4.9 percent this month on concern recent data, including an increase in the U.S. unemployment rate to 9.1 percent in May, signal the global economy is losing steam. U.S. Treasuries rose last week, pushing two-year note yields down for a ninth week in the longest stretch of decreases since February 2008, on bets the Federal Reserve will maintain monetary stimulus.
‘Overcapacity’ in China
“China is now relying increasingly not just on net exports but on fixed investment” which has climbed to about 50 percent of GDP, he said. “Down the line, you are going to have two problems: a massive non-performing loan problem in the banking system and a massive amount of overcapacity is going to lead to a hard landing.”
A record $2.7 trillion of loans were extended in China over two years, pushing property prices to all-time highs even as authorities set price ceilings, demanded higher deposits and limited second-home purchases.
The nation’s current challenge is to maintain growth and curb price gains ahead of a leadership change next year, Roubini said. Officials may use administrative steps and price controls, as well as raising rates further and allowing currency appreciation, if inflation becomes a bigger problem, he said.