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June 1, 2020, 1:41 p.m. EDT

The economist who’s warning of a 40% drop in the stock market this year just took credit for predicting the riots

Roubini says riots sweeping America ‘are not just about George Floyd’s murder’

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By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch


Getty Images
Dr. Nouriel Roubini

His critics might say “a broken clock is right twice a day,” but that isn’t stopping NYU economist Nouriel Roubini from taking a victory lap for what he’s characterizing as a prescient call, amid the riots that erupted across the U.S. over the weekend.

Roubini appears to be referencing a column that he wrote back in March in which he raised the “possibility of outright violence and civil disorder.” So, score a point for nailing a prediction for civil unrest, but, perhaps, subtract one for tying his call to foreign interference in the U.S. election.

“The COVID-19 crisis will give way to renewed conflicts between the West and at least four revisionist powers: China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, all of which are already using asymmetric cyberwarfare to undermine the U.S. from within,” he wrote at the time. “The inevitable cyber attacks on the US election process may lead to a contested final result, with charges of ‘rigging.’”

Also in March, Roubini sounded the alarm on what he thought the novel strain of coronavirus could mean for the economy. “You can’t build a wall in the sky,” he told Germany’s Der Spiegel. “I live in New York City and people there are hardly going to restaurants, cinemas or theaters, even though nobody there has been infected by the virus thus far. If it comes, we are totally f***ed.”

He recommended investors load up on cash on the expectation global equities will drop by as much as 40% by the end of the year. There’s still time for that prediction to come true, but the market’s been showing strength of late. At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.44% , S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.05% and Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.66% were all adding to last month’s rally.

In April, Roubini also dished out his signature brand of gloom when he said an even “Greater Depression” looms this decade due to several ominous trends that are taking shape.

As for his self-celebration on Sunday, not everybody was impressed:

Civil unrest continues in U.S. cities from Los Angeles to New York following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who perished in Minneapolis in police custody a week ago.

/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
26,075.30
+369.21 +1.44%
Volume: 337.36M
July 10, 2020 5:09p
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,185.04
+32.99 +1.05%
Volume: 2.41B
July 10, 2020 5:09p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
10,617.44
+69.69 +0.66%
Volume: 3.19M
July 10, 2020 5:16p
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Shawn Langlois is an editor and writer for MarketWatch in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @slangwise.

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