Global recessionin 2012 is "65 to 75 percent certain" and could deteriorate into a lengthy depression, Roger Nightingale, economist and strategist at RDN Associates, told CNBC.
The peak rate of growth for the world's economy occurred more than 12 months ago and "it carries on going down," Nightingale said. "We are probably going into negative territory around spring of next year; it is not for certain, but that is the most likely scenario. I would say the recession is 65 percent, 75 percent certain.”
The economist warned that should recession kick in, the global economy might be too weak to generate any GDP growth for years, or even decades.
“When the downturn ends, and when the upturn begins, will it be powerful enough to take us into some sort of growth again? Or are we going to find ourselves in a protracted depression-type scenario?" he wondered.
“Seven years would be a very short depression; depressions last a lot longer than that. I would be extremely pleased if it were to only last seven years. In Japan’s case, it lasted 20 years,” he said.
Nightingale added that the US economy has “some big pluses”, but was uncertain it was strong enough to steer the world out of a recession.
“America is very competitive at the moment, and she has a lot of advantages in finance, agriculture and many other areas. There are some big pluses in the American situation, and they are causing some growth. Whether they are going to be big enough to keep the thing going, and to bail out the rest of the world, is another issue,” he said.
The strategist also raised concerns about the German 'strong man of Europe', saying its industrial production figures would plummet with Japan’s recovery from the tsunami.
“Germany is the major beneficiary of the Japanese tsunami, and as the Japanese come back on stream and production increases again, they will take their markets back from the Germans," Nightingale said.
"Watch out very carefully for industrial production numbers falling quite significantly, perhaps from autumn of this year through to spring of next year,” he added.