Thursday, July 23, 2015

Merrill on the Annual GDP Revision and Q2 GDP

by Bill McBride on 7/23/2015 05:37:00 PM

Excerpts from a research piece by Michelle Meyer at Merrill Lynch:

The moment of truth
• The annual revision to GDP growth on July 30th will adjust estimates of growth over the past few years. If growth is indeed revised higher it would help solve the puzzle of low productivity growth.

• This will also be the first release of the new GDP and GDI composite. This will show a stronger trend of growth given that GDI has outpaced GDP recently.

• Taking a step back and examining a range of indicators reveals an economy expanding at a mid-2% pace, largely consistent with the Fed’s forecasts.
On July 30th, along with the first release of 2Q GDP, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) will release the 2015 annual NIPA revision. We will be looking for the following:

1. Will GDP growth be revised higher over the past few years? If so, this would imply faster productivity growth, which has been puzzlingly slow.

2. How will the revision to seasonal factors adjust the “residual seasonality” issue to 1Q GDP growth over the years?

3. Will the new aggregated GDP and GDI figure take the spotlight away from GDP?

Although it is hard to say with any certainty, we believe GDP growth is likely to be revised up modestly. This will likely leave the Fed comfortable arguing that the economy is making progress closing the output gap, allowing a gradual hiking cycle to commence.
And on Q2:
The first estimate of 2Q GDP is likely to show growth of 3.0%, which would be a bounce from the contraction of 0.2% in 1Q. However, it is important to remember that the history will be revised along with this report.