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Monday, December 10, 2012

Weisenthal interview with Goldman's Jan Hatzius

by Calculated Risk on 12/10/2012 05:51:00 PM

From Joe Weisenthal at Business Insider: Goldman's Top Economist Explains The World's Most Important Chart, And His Big Call For The US Economy

Hatzius is bullish on the U.S. economy starting in the second half of 2013, because finally he expects private releveraging to occur at a nice clip, and to not be counteracted by a fiscal drag. Says Hatzius:
"If the business sector is basically trying to reduce its financial surplus at a more rapid pace than the government is trying to reduce its deficit then you’re getting a net positive impulse to spending which then translates into stronger, higher, more income, and ultimately feeds back into spending."
He has a specific explanation and numbers in mind, to explain the private sector's inclination to reduce its savings, and spend more.
"Since mid-2009, that surplus has gradually come down as businesses and households have gotten closer to where they need to be from a long-term balance sheet perspective. They’ve paid down debt, they’ve eliminated the excess supply of housing, and that’s basically allowed them to reduce the financial surpluses that they run. They’re still running large surpluses – still 5.5 to 7 percent of GDP, but they’re no longer as large. We expect those figures to come down as the balance sheet adjustment process makes further strides and that’s an underlying source of boost to the economy that’s happening on the one side."
Of course, Hatzius's bullishness on the private sector's impulse to spend more is tempered by the fact that we're going to see some form of austerity early in 2013, even if there's a deal on the fiscal cliff.
The transcript of the interview is here, and check out the graph on Private Sector Surplus and Government Deficit.