A few shorts months ago, UK minister Baroness Vadera received a verbal pummelling for daring to suggest that she could see a few "green shoots of economic recovery".
From being politically incorrect it is now fast becoming the fad phrase, being uttered by Mr. Big himself Barack Obama and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. In the UK Gordon Brown recently still considered the phrase verbotten, rebuking another minister in March for having the temerity to utter it. However, with the UK press, the Chinese and the Koreans apparently "green shooting" now too, will it be long before Brown starts seeing the world in green-coloured glasses? In Canada the Financial Post is on board shooting off its mouth in green but Canada's politicians, whether out of deference to language or ignorance of the sprouting, have so far refrained from spouting green.
The more traditional "green" movement is loathe to lose its favorite word and is trying to drag it back by suggesting the economic situation is an opportunity to fix climate change and poverty. The panda bear federation, er the WWF, seems to resent that green shoots could appear economically without the "real" green being made to happen as well.
Not to be outdone, I too am detecting a little green here and there in my brokerage accounts (real return bonds, corporate bonds and emerging markets). Long live the cliché! May the green shoots become bountiful "hay" along with a few long-lasting Douglas fir.
... if I may be so bold, here's the next cliché we should look out for - the "choking weeds of inflation". As any Canadian knows, dandelions and other weeds follow quickly after the appearance of the real green shoots of spring and so shall inflation almost surely follow the massive stimulus and monetary expansion governments have deployed to combat the recession.