January 27, 2012 / 3:14 PM / 7 years ago

Goldman's O'Neill sees economy better than consensus

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The U.S. economy looks to be improving more than market consensus believes while the global driver for growth continues to come from major emerging markets, Goldman Sachs Asset Management Chairman Jim O’Neill said on Friday.

The boss of Goldman Sachs AM, which has almost a trillion dollars of assets under management, also said the U.S. housing market, whose collapse helped trigger the financial crisis in 2008, may be close to a turning point.

“It is my growing suspicion that the U.S. economy is improving more than the consensus thinks,” O’Neill said during an economic conference in the Czech capital of Prague.

O’Neill said there were growing signs the United States was recovering from the deep economic challenges after 2008.

Data on Friday, released while the Prague conference was taking place, showed the U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in 1-1/2 years in the fourth quarter but some of the data also hinted at slower growth in early 2012.

In December, O’Neill told Reuters that U.S. and emerging market economies were still doing well and that made it easy to be bullish about global equities in 2012.

“In my judgment, the four BRIC countries - Brazil, China, India, Russia - and four others - Mexico, Korea, Turkey, Indonesia - are actually the countries which are driving the world economy,” O’Neill said on Friday.

O’Neill coined the term BRICs.

Reporting by Jana Mlcochova; Writing by Jason Hovet. Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.

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