Donald Ratajczak, director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University, said during a lecture in Buckhead April 23 he is beginning to notice the same sort of attitudes toward the good economic times in the U.S. that he did toward Japan in 1989 before its economy collapsed.

      I start getting nervous when I hear that we live in a different world with a new economy, he told the attendees of the event hosted by the Georgia Council of International Visitors (GCIV) held at the American InterContinental University.

      But he tempered his remarks by saying that stock valuations in the U.S. are now at 28 times earnings while in Japan they were as high as 45 times earnings before its market collapsed.

      While short-term economic challenges for the U.S. include maintaining good monetary and fiscal policies, he said that long-term, the savings rate had to be improved and there needs to be more investment in education and training of the workforce.

      Meanwhile, he added that Europe is poised for growth because prices will be lowered by 5-to-6% as a result of the creation of the European Monetary Union (EMU) and the launch of the new euro currency.

      He predicted that Europe would experience 3-to-4% real growth this year, but that the EMU would experience difficulties instituting a central banking system and common economic policies for different member nations in the next century.

      He also said that Japan will struggle to post any growth at all throughout the year.  He expects Thailand to experience a growth rate of 4-to-5% with Korea registering a growth rate of about 5% as well for the year.

      China’s economy will slip to a growth rate of about 5 1/2% for the year and he cited predictions that the Shanghai building boom would collapse.

      He briefly mentioned Latin America, saying that he anticipated growth in most countries including Mexico, which he forecast would have a growth rate of 5%.

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