Double-dip recession fear overdone: Scotiabank

Fears of a double-dip recession in the near term are misguided, Bank of Nova Scotia economists say.

'Sustained near-term growth' forecast

Fears of a double-dip recession in the near term are misguided, the Bank of Nova Scotia said Monday.

Pointing to strong U.S. consumer spending data and modest income growth, Scotiabank economists Derek Holt and Gorica Djeric wrote in a note that fears over an imminent descent into a new recession are overblown.

"The overall picture is one of sustained near-term growth," the report said.

"Analysts playing up near-term double dip worries are exhibiting misplaced fears in our opinion, and misinterpreting composite leading indicators that themselves have spotty track records."

Many economic indicators have slowed their expansion but are still positive, the report noted. Consumer spending represents about two-thirds of the U.S. economy, Holt said, and the most recent data suggests it is growing at a 3.5 per cent annual pace.

"You don't get a double-dip recession while the U.S. consumer is still spending," Holt said. "We have half a million [new] jobs in the private sector — that's not something to shake a stick at."

While analysts who foresee an imminent slump are "peaking too soon," the report does caution that the years 2011 through 2013 could see a return to recession, especially as American policymakers must decide exactly how and when to unwind stimulus spending and undergo the painful cycle of fiscal responsibility currently underway in Europe.

"This is a very fragile recover that needs to be nurtured with market-friendly policies," Holt said.