PARIS: A lone voice among the globe's economic institutions, unwilling to emulate its peers by downplaying the gravity of the current economic situation, warns that subprime crisis could make a "significant" impact on the eggshell US economy.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, whose thirty-strong national membership includes the USA, warns that the risk of going into recession "cannot be ruled out".

Says OECD chief economist Jean-Philippe Cotis: "We are looking at a slowdown in the US economy which is quite significant. What we had not forecast was the extent of the spread of this financial risk beyond the boundaries of the US."

Referring to recessions earlier this century, Cotis stressed that circumstances could be different this time because of the continued strength of household spending in the US.

"So far consumption has remained resilient despite the contraction in real estate markets," he said, adding: "We don't think there will be the same extent of contagion in Europe as in 2001."

Data sourced from BBC Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff