, pub-6663105814926378, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Alphabet soup and economic recovery 4289

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Alphabet soup and economic recovery

“You could be forgiven for thinking that Big Bird and his chums from Sesame Street” have taken over the debate about the global recovery, says Katie Martin. At every turn, investors and economists are using the alphabet to communicate their “guestimates”. Will it be, as the optimists hope, V-shaped? Or are we heading for a “more drawn-out U”? Or a W-shape in which “the economy repeatedly stumbles on resurgences of the virus”? Pinning letters onto economic trajectories provides a useful shorthand. The problem is that “everyone’s handwriting is different”. For instance, the Bank of England policymaker Silvana Tenreyro is forecasting an “interrupted or incomplete” V-shaped trajectory. “That sounds like a whole new letter.” Alarmingly, faith in the “longed-for V” seems to be ebbing. Bank of America reports that a “plodding U” is now the favoured pick of 44% of the fund managers it has polled. But, in their candid moments, most admit they have no idea what happens next. For them, computergenerated ASCII art may be the way forward: “¯\_( ") )_/¯”.

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