Attacks May Trigger a Global Recession

September 12, 2001 | Source: Reuters

Economists said a global economic contraction was almost assured as world stock markets plunged, the U.S. dollar spiraled lower against the yen and euro, and oil and gold prices soared after terror attacks on landmarks in New York and near Washington.
Economists said there could be untold damage to the U.S. financial system, noting many key stock market players in the World Trade Center buildings were likely killed.

Sohn said he expects a “stampede” of sell orders once American stock markets reopen, and a run on insurance companies, possibly crippling the financial system and forcing the U.S. Fed to cut interest rates even further.

Economists said the worst-case scenario could be a massive capital flight out of U.S. assets — something that could crush already weak U.S. stock prices and banish the American economy into its first recession in more than a decade.

“The major risk is panic in the financial markets,” said Kathryn Kobe, an economist at Joel Popkin & Co. in Washington. “If for some reason the United States is no longer seen as a safe haven for capital…there could be some very large capital movements.”