Yardeni lowers recession risk to 45%? Has the tide turned?

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I haven't seen anyone post the whole LA Times story from today (sorry if I missed it). It says the mood is getting better (though Ed Y is quoted as believing otherwise). It also says Yardeni has lowered his recession risk to 45% (although Yardeni's web site doesn't say this, at least not yet). Story is here:

Awareness Helping Cool the Y2K Fever

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (y2k@cbn.org), March 12, 1999


Drew: Please go to www.yardeni.com There is no reference here to decreased concern. In fact his web book reaffirms his 70% chance of recession perspective as at March 1999. The LA Times report is not dated and may be in error. Best wishes,

-- Watchful (seethesea@msn.com), March 12, 1999.


As I mentioned in my post, I did check Yardeni's site. The LA Times story was published today. I called the reporter to see where he got that quote (maybe it was interview with Yardeni), but he had left by the time I called.

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (y2k@cbn.org), March 12, 1999.


I believe this came from a breakdown of his percentages, wherein he not only talked of recession, but gave global depression a 5% probability. Don't have the link, but it's probably at his Y2K Reporter site.

In short, the reporter lives in LA-LA Land.

-- Brett (savvydad@aol.com), March 12, 1999.

Also see a few more comments at this Thread <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), March 12, 1999.

I dunno, Drew. Jumping from 70% to 45% seems a bit extreme to me. Has he really been that surprised about the amount of code remediation being done? Also, where is the third party documentation of all this magical code remediation that's been done in the past few months? Will somebody name us a few large banks or large companies or public utilities that are definitely y2k compliant (not y2k "ready")?

Just what is all this good news and where is it?

-- cody (cody@y2ksurvive.com), March 13, 1999.

I know Yardeni's secretary very well; I'm going to call her first thing Monday morning & see what she has to say. May as well get the straight scoop (which I would have done had it not been so late tonight when I finally got to that story).

In my commentary on this story on our site, I originally wrote a good deal more than I finally posted. I think I'm going to publish that part of it in the next few weeks in a broader essay...

Incidentally, Cody, I had a friend of mine in Houston tape your appearance on Capital Connections, but I haven't had time to view it yet.

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (y2k@cbn.org), March 13, 1999.

This from Dr. Ed's February 22 Y2K Reporter

Y2K Economic Scenarios Probability

Minor disruptions. Business as usual. Only a few problems, which will be fixed rapidly. Stock market unaffected. 10%

Same impact as natural disaster. Business as usual within a few weeks. Stock market unaffected. 20%

Multiple problems will cause modest 6-month recession. Real GDP down 1%-2%. Stock market down 10%-15%, then soars. 25%

Major global recession lasting 12-24 months. Real GDP down 2%-5%. Stock market down 30%-40%. Flight to quality. Deflation. 40%

Depression lasting 2-3 years. Blackouts. Social and political upheaval. Stock marketyou dont want to know. 5%

I thought that this might be the origin of the 45%, but since I don't see that figure in here, I can't point to a source. I am, however, with Cory: that's a mighty fast turn-around for little or no apparent basis. Especially given Yardeni's verbal joust with Kosky ("Define mission-critical!" vs. "You're a pessimist!") recently (Y2K: Press and Preventing Panic), I'd be real shocked to find it true.

-- Brett (savvydad@aol.com), March 13, 1999.


I agree about the point of his jousting with Koskinen; I meant to mention that myself (but, it *is* the middle of the night :)

Charlie Register has pointed out to me via e-mail that if you add the last two together, you get 45%. Perhaps this is the source of the LA Times number; I have no idea. However, Yardeni says quite plainly in his Feb 22 post that "I remain at 70%"

So, we'll see...

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN Nooze (y2k@cbn.org), March 13, 1999.

I find it interesting that he says:
"...recently revised his estimate for a long global recession due to the glitch, from a 70% chance to 45%."
Notice "long global" recession. This looks an awful lot like spin to me. Perhaps 6 months of disruption is not considered "long" or something. The only thing that doesn't make sense (or even could be a lie) is the "recently revised" part. I don't remember Yardeni ever saying "long global recession." How could he revise it if he didn't say it? Since figures don't lie but liars figure, I am on my guard.

-- Reporter (reporter_atlarge@hotmail.com), March 13, 1999.

Hmmmmmmm,Could it be 70% of a global rec, AND 45% of a LONG global recession? The word long being a new catagory.

-- Scotty (BLehman202@aol.com), March 13, 1999.

Very possible that the reporter invented Yardeni's quote based on a screwy analysis of his web article. As mentioned, over-emphasis on "long" recession and adding the percentages. (Trust me, reporters are very prone to doing this kind of thing. Especially uninformed ones in looming deadline situations.)

If Ed had truly announced this major change, don't you think we would've heard of it sooner, and in a more direct fashion than buried in the middle of an LA Times story?

-- rick blaine (y2kazoo@hotmail.com), March 13, 1999.

I have taken Ed Yourdon's advise and don't pay TO much attention to the "gurus", but out of interest:

The last 2 percentages by Yardeni (40 and 5) for SEVERE recession or depression make up the 45% figure. Add just plain "rececession" (listed in his book as 25%) and you get the 70% figure - someone previous had this about right. THIS IS SPIN on what at most a SLIGHT change in tone. And does anybody believe Yardeni or any economist would change his tune between March 7 (last update of his book and) and March 12? As someone also said, notice the parsed wording "a long recession - 45%). This is still Yardenis top scenario, why does the media insist on ignoring that? (don't anwer that - I know why)

I know we all care about what "the experts" think, but lets not get as excited as some dumb ass reporter(I'm not saying anyone here has) over nothing.

-- Jon Johnson (Narnia4@usa.net), March 13, 1999.

Jon has it right- if you add the last 2 together, you get 45, which is the same point I made in my post to Brett earlier.

However, that would *not* constitute a lowering of Yardeni's overall recession odds from 70 to 45%, and that's the point under discussion. True, his odds of a severe global recession stand at 45%, but his overall chances remain at 70.

Yardeni was quoted in Barron's this morning (Saturday) as still expecting a Y2K bear market in the Dow down to 6400 (after a possible rise to 11,000 this summer). That's in line with his previous forecasts, so it leads me to believe that he hasn't really changed his outlook. (He still looks for Dow 15,000 by 2005).

This will all be cleared up early next week...

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN Noose (y2k@cbn.org), March 13, 1999.

There's newer info about Yardeni's prediction at this thread:


"Ed Yardeni still at 70%"

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), March 13, 1999.

Please see my article on the L.A. Times' coverage of Ed Yardeni's Y2K predictions by clicking here.


-- Scott Johnson (
scojo@yahoo.com), March 15, 1999.

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