Many American economists expect that 2008 will be a bad year for the world economy after the crisis that struck the housing loans with high risk "Subprime" sector in the United States last summer. This is in addition to rising oil prices and the low exchange rate of U.S. dollar.
In this context, Nariman Behraoc, chief of the Economics Department at Global Insight, estimates that the performance of the U.S. economy during 2008 will be bad while the European economy will be weak. She says that the U.S. economy is in a danger zone, warning of the possibility of an economic slowdown. "For an economic slowdown in the United States, two shocks must be done: The crisis of" subprime "and oil prices continuing to rise to the level of 95 dollars per barrel. This would be sufficient to achieve a recession because of the fragility of the U.S. economy", she adds.
According to Behraoc, this fragility could increase if the crisis of mortgages worsens, as analysts are waiting for, specially with the increasing number of buyers who face difficulties in paying the installments. "If the rate of growth in the United States did not exceed the threshold of 2%, this will impact negatively on the global economy", she says.
And Behraoc estimate that there would be no slowdown during the first half of 2008, but the U.S. government could take more stringent measures that would lead to slow the economy, which could create a major clash between late 2008 and early 2009.
For their part, analysts of "Goldman Sachs" bank estimate that the U.S. economy is still affected by the crisis in 2007, a year full of surprises when the world discovered the danger of "subprime" granted to American poor families.
This comes at a time when Congress reviews the possibility of an intervention by the government in the U.S. economy, especially after U.S. President George W. Bush declared that "all options" will be discussed to fix the problem.
The observers see that an important part of American society fears that the crisis in the housing sector in the country would lead to "stagnation" of the U.S. economy, which has prompted Democrats and Republicans to seek ways likely to support the economy while the White House is not disclosing the procedures it could take to fix the situation.
According to these observers, if economic indicators in the coming months are worse, The Congress will adopt legislation to stimulate the economy and to calm the voters a few months before the presidential and legislative elections to be held next November.
The Democrat member of the House of Representatives Ram Emmanuel says that the Democrats in the Congress will try to cope with any situation of economic stagnation or recession. "We must face this issue in a responsible manner", he adds.
Emmanuel Statements intervene under criticism by some Congress members against Bush who confirms that the U.S. economy is in good condition. A statement that generated the idea that the White House tries to reduce speculation that the U.S. government could adopt "rapidly" a plan to stimulate the economy.
These reactions are coupled with warnings against the risks of recession spears by many prominent economists including former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and Veldstein Martin, a professor at Harvard University, who urged the U.S. government to give a financial assistance to stimulate the economy.
For his part, the Republican member of the House of Representatives Roy Blent says that Bush and Summers, who took the Treasury Department during the administration of former President Bill Clinton, speak of procedures to stimulate the economy, which could lead to a kind of consensus on the issue. "I think that Bush intends to go in this direction", he resumed. "The talks with the White House on a plan to stimulate the economy have not reached the stage of details yet".
In the same time, seniors of U.S. government are worried about the impact of the stagnation of the housing market and the credit crisis resulting from mortgage loans.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has heard himself during a visit to Florida and California, complaints of citizens who lost their homes, while bankers and local leaders have said that the situation could worsen by next year with the time to raise interest rates on mortgages, nwhich means that many homeowners would be unable to bear such an increase.
However, Paulson confirms that the fundamentals of the U.S. economy are strong. "The U.S. economy will continue to growth", he says while he is admitting that the situation in the housing sector is "unprecedented".
It is noteworthy that the U.S. administration helped to achieve a plan aims to freeze interest rates temporarily on some mortgages, but some economists believe that this step was very late and would not be of great value.
The budget's Commission's in the Congress began to examine the prospects of a recession in the U.S. economy at a hearing held on December 6th, where the committee chairman, the Democrat John Spratt, raised the call made by Veldstein to reduice taxes. Spratt wondered if Congress should focus on stopping the recovery operations by banks of houses belonging to people who are unable to repay loans in case of the failure of the freeze on interest rates.
Meanwhile, the director of employees of the commission, Thomas Kann, said that the committee also plans to enact broader legislation to stimulate the economy, including tax cuts. "The jobs and retail sales for January will clarify the situation".
The former president of the U.S. central bank, Alan Greenspan, said mid-December that the U.S. economy was facing, 50% chance of deflation. He highlighted that the United States have begun to face the first signs of inflationary recession, ie the lack of growth when there is high inflation. "During the last twenty years the USA has experienced a spectacular non-inflationary period, but this period is strating to end, which increases the risk of deflation", he adds.
In Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has recently reduced its estimates for economic growth in the region in 2008 from 2,7% to 2,3%. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) should also lower its estimates for growth in Europe after reducing its expectations for world economic growth to 4,8%.
Financial markets reflect a major concern. Banks have tightened the conditions for granting loans, which had a negative effect on economic growth. At the same time, the estimates do not show that the situation would improve during the next year.
In this context, Carlos Kathires, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, believes that "a strong adverse wind" will continue to hit the euro area, including high oil prices, the high price of Euro exchange and reflections the mortgage crisis.
At the time when many analysts believe that the price of the euro could reach 1,55 dollars at the end of the first half of the year, Louis Gallois, Chairman of the European aviation and defense industries (EADS ), Parent company of Airbus, said that his group lost more than one billion euros each time the dollar falling ten cents. Gallois added that EADS intend to exercise some of its productive activities in the area of the dollar.
Some analysts also fear that the crisis of American mortgages would have strong negative effects on many real estate markets in Europe, including Spain, Britain and Ireland. Peter Perezzin, an analyst at "Goldman Sachs", said that even if the impact of the crisis of mortgage loans in these markets is weaker than in USA, this will have a negative effect on growth in these countries.
But analysts believe that the economy in the euro zone countries has demonstrated its ability to withstand crises, reducing the likelihood of strong impact. Some analysts are more optimistic and say that there would be an improvement of economic conditions from the second half of 2008.
In this context, analysts of the "Societe Generale" believe that the U.S. economy to show momentum. They believe that the exchange rate of the euro will drop to the dollar and oil prices decline, which will achieve a growth rate of 2% in the euro area during the second half of 2008.
Analysts believe that in the face of the financial crisis, fears related to China's economy fell, but strong economic growth, which is there out of control, could have bad repercussions by the end of 2008.