The US won’t slip into recession after US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank has more tools to support growth if needed, Templeton Asset Management’s Mark Mobius said.
“Its very clear that he’s not going to preside over a severe economic downturn if he can help it,” said Mobius, who oversees about US$50 billion as executive chairman of Templeton’s emerging markets group.
He spoke in an interview with Bloomberg News ahead of a speech to journalists in Hong Kong.
“We’re not going to see a recession. He’s still got policy tools available,” he said.
The US recovery may gain pace in the second half of this year and the Fed’s policy-setting committee is extending its meeting next month to two days to discuss the economy, Bernanke said.
His talk followed reports including worse-than-estimated data on jobless claims, GDP and new home sales that showed the world’s largest economy is slowing.
Bernanke’s speech on Friday to central bankers meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, was “quite bullish,” Mobius said.
Mobius is positive on commodity stocks and expects higher raw-material prices as inflation accelerates, Mobius said in an interview on Bloomberg Television last week. The MSCI Emerging Markets Materials Index has dropped 16 percent this year.
The recent global stock rout had created buying opportunities, Mobius said.
He is “pretty positive” about Southeast Asian equity markets, he added.
“Looking at Southeast Asia, it’s Thailand and Indonesia,” he said. “Those are the hot spots where we can find good opportunities and we’ve seen currency appreciation. This downturn has given us the opportunity to buy more in Thailand.”
Templeton is “big” on Thailand stocks, Mobius said.