The U.S. Economy: Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

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Sentiment on the U.S. economic outlook has gone from a flurry of uncertainty at the start of the year to renewed optimism. Admittedly, there are grounds for being bullish. Growth has held up despite tougher fiscal and tax policies; the housing market recovery has continued; and the Fed has stuck to its easy money policy. But let’s not get carried away! The latest numbers are no more encouraging than those available at the end of last year. In particular, decelerating productivity growth, with all that it implies in terms of profit, investment, and job trends in the next few quarters, may well drag the U.S. economy back down in the second half of the year. And with a policy mix that is less accommodative than before, the key ingredients for a genuine recovery are still nowhere to be seen. All this has conditioned our analysis on several points:

  • We wonder whether a change in monetary policy is on the short-term agenda—and worry that the Fed may withdraw its support too soon.
  • While we aren’t overly concerned about trends in the U.S. bond market and the euro’s exchange rate, we do suspect that the stock market will be more vulnerable to disappointing macroeconomic data.
  • We have very little faith in the American economy’s chances of regaining its status as powerhouse of the global economy before the year is out.

Leveraging France’s Key Strengths

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In pursuit of an Alternative Path

The French economy is undeniably in a bad way. But trying to overcome its shortcomings with the kind of shock therapy inflicted on Southern Europe would be the most dangerous response, both for France and the entire euro area. An alternative approach is therefore required—one that will necessarily involve leveraging more effectively the factors that set the French economy apart. This, then, is the value of taking a closer look at France’s key strengths.


France is in a bad way, with a very real risk of lapsing into critical condition 

  • You can’t cure debt with austerity
  • Competitive deflation—a non-option
  • France, Germany: two economies, two models

In pursuit of an alternative path

  • Just what are France’s key strengths?
  • The benefits of favorable demographics for demand, investment, available capital and personal wealth
  • France’s underrated productivity
  • French companies’ international footprint and standing
  • R&D
  • Geographic location, tourism, and agriculture
  • Leveraging the French economy’s strengths more effectively to tackle the crisis