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Wells Fargo Economist Bullish on the Economy

November 16, 2009

By Catherine Merlo, Western editor for Dairy Today

Well-known Wells Fargo economist Michael Swanson is bullish on the U.S. economy.

"When you look at the American business model and its ability to adapt, I'm bullish,” Swanson said last week during his economic outlook at Dairy Today's Elite Producer Business Conference in Las Vegas.

The 2009 recession, the worst in 50 years, is absolutely finished, Swanson said, although it may not feel like it if you're unemployed.  A major economic indicator, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), has shown continued growth during the last two quarters of 2009, Swanson said.  The GDP reflects the market value of the goods and services produced in a nation over the course of a year.

Despite a lack of business investment that is holding back the economy, Swanson predicted that "remarkable catch-up growth” will take place in the U.S.

For 2010, Swanson also foresees strong U.S. productivity. He expects interest rates to hold flat and then rise sharply. The U.S. dollar will continue to weaken.

Volatility is likely to remain part of agricultural markets, said Swanson. Few consumers realize what it costs to produce their food. Most people, he said, "are living in a fool's paradise.”

While Swanson is not sure when the export recovery will begin, he is "extremely positive” about the global GDP, "which will be wonderful for the dairy industry,” he said.

Swanson spoke to some 300 dairy producers and industry representatives at the conference, which is sponsored each year by Dairy Today.

Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at cmerlo@farmjournal.com.

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