Bullish on the US? Game On!
Gambling is a subject that comes up a lot in Davos. There's a large casino right near the Piano Bar, only a short distance from the Congress Center. Participants are constantly asked for their expertise so people can put their money on one scenario or another. And, really, after a few drinks, sleep-deprived, hedge-fund managers can wager on some pretty odd things.
And who is "Heard in Davos" not to join the party?
On CNBC, C. Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, made a bold proposition. He bet a steak dinner at the WEF annual meeting 2012 if the US economy doesn't grow 4.0 percent this year.
Maybe it's because Nouriel Roubini was on an hour earlier, or maybe it was just covering a large majority of the doom talk for the past two years, but the forecast sounded kind of high.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is predicting growth of 3.0 to 4.0 percent, while the economists at the American Bankers Association are forecasting 3.3 percent.
I took the bet. Bergsten looked confident.
Concerned, I decided to take the pulse of the WEF view on the US economy. And it's bullish.
In a very unscientific survey, global players are planning on growth much closer to 4.0 percent than 3.0 percent. I didn't get an estimate from anyone below 3.5 percent.
This jibes with the Pricewaterhouse Cooper's survey released Tuesday at WEF that said CEO confidence is close to pre-crisis levels.
So, Mr. Bergsten, as they asked The Pros from Dover in "M*A*S*H," how do you want your steak cooked?