Brazil, India, China may be overheating, Roubini says

Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who predicted the global financial crisis, said the Brazilian, Chinese and Indian economies may be overheating and developing asset bubbles.

The outlook for Brazil's economy is "very positive," though the crisis in the Eurozone countries and a slow "u- shaped" recovery globally could dent the country's growth, Roubini said today at an event in Sao Paulo.

"In Brazil, like in many other emerging market economies, there is now evidence of overheating of the economy," Roubini said. "Expected and actual inflation is starting to rise, and that implies that over the next few quarters there has to be a tightening of monetary policy, gradually but progressively, in order to make sure that inflation expectations remain anchored."

Roubini recommended that Brazilian policy makers take steps to limit the appreciation of the real, including the "judicious" use of capital controls. The currency has gained 8.5 percent against the dollar over the past 12 months, the best performer among 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg. That's made the country's exports more expensive in dollar terms.

Brazil's economy could also be hit by a fall in commodity prices, which are likely to decline over the next 6 months to 12 months because of a possible double-dip recession in Europe and a slowdown in the U.S., Roubini said.

The Eurozone economies are likely to stagnate this year, and Greece is growing closer to insolvency and may be forced to restructure its debt, Roubini added.

Chinese economic growth may slow to an annual rate of 7 percent to 8 percent by the end of the year or early 2011, from 11.9 percent in the first quarter of 2010, Roubini said. U.S. economic growth may slow to less than 2 percent in the second half of the year, Roubini said.

(Published by Bloomberg – May 31, 2010)

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