Criss-Cross! US Advance Q1 GDP Rises To 3.2%, But Personal Consumption Falls To 1.2%

Today’s economic report reminds me of the Hitchcock flick “Strangers on a Train.” Criss-cross, two seemingly unrelated factors — 3.2% GDP growth with falling Personal Consumption growth.

(Bloomberg) — U.S. economic growth accelerated by more than expected in the first quarter on a big boost from inventories and trade that offset a slowdown in consumer spending, bolstering hopes that growth is stabilizing after its recent soft patch.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 3.2 percent annualized rate in the January-March period, according to Commerce Department data Friday that topped all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey calling for 2.3 percent growth. That followed a 2.2 percent advance in the prior three months.

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The increase in real GDP in the first quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, state and local government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased. These contributions were partly offset by a decrease in residential investment.

The acceleration in real GDP growth in the first quarter reflected an upturn in state and local government spending, accelerations in private inventory investment and in exports, and a smaller decrease in residential investment. These movements were partly offset by decelerations in PCE and nonresidential fixed investment, and a downturn in federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, turned down.

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On the positive US news, global sovereign bond prices rose and yields declined. Mostly due to disappointed economic news from China.

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Yes, the tax cuts helped speed up the economic merry-go-round, but the tax cuts are not seemingly translating to personal consumption.

Criss-cross.

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