OLD Media Moves

Media's trouble in deciphering Greenspan-speak

March 7, 2007

Hal Morris on the Grumpy Editor blog notes the business media’s difficulty in deciphering what former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan means when he talks.

Alan GreenspanMorris wrote, “So Grumpy Editor figures it’s time to review utterances, with variations, of the retired Fed chairman over the past week that saw a fidgety stock market and spooked investors.

At an interview Monday with Bloomberg reporter Craig Torres:

“There’s a ‘one-third probability’ of a U.S. recession this year, said Greenspan.

“‘We are in the sixth year of a recovery; imbalances can emerge as a result.’ Then he fine-tuned that with ‘It is possible that we can have a recession at the end of this year.’

To an investment audience (via satellite) in Tokyo, March 1 gathering:

“Greenspan said a recession in the U.S. is possible, though not probable this year.

To a business conference (via satellite) in Hong Kong, Feb. 26:

“‘When you get this far away (since 2001) from a recession, invariably forces build up for the next recession, and indeed we are beginning to see that sign.’ But then he hedged a bit with ‘while, yes, it is possible we can get a recession in the latter months of 2007, most forecasters are not making that judgment.’

“Thus, when Greenspan speaks, people listen — although they are not quite sure what he said.”

Read more here.

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