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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Business Cycle Transparency

Developed economies are more transparent than emerging economies are. We all have heard about this, haven't we? If that is the fact, then I need to make myself work harder to believe it.

After the great recession hit the world in the year 2008, I could never understand clearly in what phase of the business cycle the US was and has been. Is it early upswing or late upswing or is it slowdown? Only thing I am sure about is that it is certainly neither initial recovery nor recession (please correct me if I am wrong). Recent healthy economic growth and relatively low inflation in the US suggests that we are in early upswing. There are no restrictive policies in the place as of now and that does not put us in the late upswing phase. But nervous investors have begun to think that equities are volatile and stock market is near its all-time peak in the 2007. Isn't that favoring late upswing? It is dilemma to me since I am not an economist! Capital market expectations are always critical to judge after prolonged recessions and a depression. If we observe emerging economies, they are believed to bounce back from shocks faster than developed nations do. This was true even after the great recession. For example, India is clearly in late upswing phase where it is feeling tremendous inflationary pressure. Equity markets in India have shown considerable volatility. Monetary policies have become restrictive and short rates are rising to curb boom mentality. India is showing business cycle transparency which I want to observe here in the US. But I may be asking too much from $14 trillion economy. Perhaps that transparency has partly been offset by the great recession.