Wednesday, November 12, 2008


"Decoupling" as some sort of meta concept that would magically allow governments and economies to escape the credit crisis and related fallout was doomed from the beginning. This was a concept promulgated by the same consultants who put so many pension funds into long-only commodities indexes with the predictable results.

Merrill chief sees severe global slowdown
By Greg Farrell in New York

Published: November 11 2008 14:42 | Last updated: November 11 2008 20:06

The global economy is entering a slowdown of epic prop­ortions
comparable with the period after the 1929 crash, John Thain, chairman
and chief executive of Merrill Lynch, warned on Tuesday.

Speaking at the company's annual banking and financial services
conference, Mr Thain said while he was cautiously optimistic about the
future of the financial services industry, he lacked optimism about
the near-term prospects of the US economy and global markets.

"Right now, the US economy is contracting very rapidly. We are looking
at a per­iod of global slowdown," he told investors. "This is not like
1987 or 1998 or 2001. The contraction going on is bigger than that. We
will in fact look back to the 1929 period to see the kind of slow­down
we're seeing now."

Mr Thain also said the economic problems afflicting the US, where
housing prices and other asset values were falling, would wreak havoc
across the world.

"There is no such thing as decoupling," he said, referring to the
popular theory that emerging markets could sustain reasonable growth
even while the world's leading economies suffered recessions. "All
equity markets are linked. Each individual economy will be more or
less affected, depending on reliance on global trade and commerce."

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