Atlanta Fed GDPNow Model Lowers Q1 GDP Forecasts

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The Federal Reserve might be hoping for inflation of 2.0%, but equity investors have generally been hoping for 2.5% or 3.0% growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States. After this morning’s personal income and spending release from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and data inside the Census Bureau’s reading on international trade, the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth has drifted lower.

This seasonally adjusted annual rate in the first quarter of 2016 has now fallen to 0.6% on March 28. The prior report had been for GDP growth of 1.4%, and earlier forecasts were closer to 2%.

So, what fell and by how much?

The forecast for first-quarter real consumer spending growth fell from 2.5% down to 1.8%. Its forecast for the contribution of net exports to first-quarter real GDP growth declined from –0.26 percentage points to –0.52 percentage points following this morning’s advance report on international trade in goods.

The Atlanta Fed does say at each one of these GDPNow reports that this is a model based projection that is not subject to judgmental adjustments, and it also says that this is not an official forecast of the Atlanta Fed, its president, the Federal Reserve System, or the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

While this report is from a regional Federal Reserve Bank (Atlanta), it is a national number based on preliminary data released by each government agency.