Chances of swift recovery understated

5 June 2009

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If it’s true that this recession started in the USA, who’s to say it won’t finish there first? So I guess it makes sense to keep a close eye on developments in the USA to chart our own emergence from recession. Based on this theory, we could already be on the threshold of recovery.

As the market focus article starting on page 17 of the June issue says, the sun has set over the western states, much like it has all over the USA and indeed most of the world. That’s what makes this recession so unique and difficult to come to terms with: it’s almost ubiquitous.

Perhaps, therefore, the sun is the wrong tool of imagery to use. Usually, in cyclical financial markets, where there’s dawn here, there’s dusk somewhere else. But not in this spiteful downturn. Seeing these complex economic wheels speed then slow in such unison is rare.

But in its inevitable recovery, perhaps economics is like physics after all.

For example, as Wikipedia reliably informs me, “sunrise should not be confused with dawn, which is the (variously defined) point at which the sky begins to lighten, some time before the sun itself appears.”

Could it be we are already at the dawn of the financial recovery? Sure, we can’t see the blinding lights of the good old days just yet, but the gloom might be lifting.

It’s encouraging that parts of the USA are upbeat. While the economic downturn and credit crunch has definitely taken its toll on the West Coast, business is not down as much as it is in some other regions of the United States, observes Jeff McNeil, marketing manager for Gorbel Inc. On a positive note, he says there continues to be a lot of inquiries for future business.

Jeff Thompson, president of Advanced Industrial Solutions, Irvine, California, says: “Actually quoting activity in general has improved a little bit recently, which is a good sign.”

While it’s true that “we are at least nine months to a year away from anything significant happening,” says John Brown, Southern California sales agent for Konecranes, Gary Cox, crane operations manager for CraneVeyor Corp., South El Monte, California, concludes: “I think this year is a year that you just need to ride out. Once we do that I think things will be all right again.”

Do I see blue interludes?

Richard Howes, Editor