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Monday, December 12, 2011

A little better GDP Growth in Q4

by Calculated Risk on 12/12/2011 08:50:00 PM

From the WSJ: Economy Poised for Growth Spurt, but Risks Abound

Forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers on Friday raised its estimate to 3.7%, from 3.5%, while Goldman Sachs has raised its target to 3.4% from the 2.5% it was predicting two weeks ago.

Nomura Global Economics lifted its target from 3.7% to 3.9%, which, if achieved, would match the fastest quarterly growth of the recovery.
It does look like GDP growth will be slightly above trend in Q4, but this is still weak growth considering all the slack in the economy. Back in Q4 2009 and early 2010, real GDP increased at around 3.8% annualized for a few quarters, but almost all of that growth was from increases in private inventories (a classic inventory cycle). This quarter most of the increase will be from final demand.

However some of this "growth spurt" is just a bounce back from earlier events - auto sales have finally recovered from the impact of the tsunami, and consumer and business spending have bounced back a little from the threat of a U.S. default in August during the debt ceiling debate.

And recently personal spending has been increasing faster than personal incomes, and the saving rate has been declining. That isn't sustainable.

Also, there are significant concerns about the first half of 2012 both from the European financial crisis and from fiscal tightening in the U.S. (fiscal policy in the U.S. will subtract from GDP in 2012 even if the payroll tax cut is extended).

Overall I still expect sluggish growth in early 2012, but at a slower pace than in Q4.