U.S. Emerges As A Main Engine of Global Growth
BLOOMBERG -- "The U.S. once again may be emerging as a main engine for global growth -- and at an opportune time, as Europe slides into recession and China’s economy decelerates. An improving job market, rising stock prices and easier credit are combining to lift U.S. consumer confidence and spending, with optimism measured by the Bloomberg Comfort Index near a four-year high. Personal-consumption expenditures increased by the most in seven months in February, rising 0.8 percent, the Commerce Department said last week.
“We’re entering a sweet spot for the economy,” said Allen Sinai, president of Decision Economics Inc. in New York. “We’re in a self-reinforcing cycle,” where faster employment growth leads to higher household income and increased consumer spending.
The U.S. is taking the lead in global growth, thanks in part to a domestic glut of natural gas, Larry Kantor, head of research at Barclays in New York, wrote in a March 22 report. Natural-gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell to 10-year lows last week, helping to blunt the impact of higher oil prices on the economy.
U.S. manufacturers are benefiting, with the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index climbing to 53.4 (NAPMPMI) last month, beating the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey, from 52.4 in February, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said yesterday. Readings greater than 50 signal growth.
The recovery “has been an emerging-market -- really a Chinese-led -- story, with the U.S. having lagged the cycle,” Kantor said. “Now, however, the U.S. has reasserted its traditional role, and the current pickup in growth is clearly being led by the U.S.”