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U.S. GDP Fell Annualized 1.4% in First Reading for 1Q

Economic Indicators Apr 28, 2022 08:41AM ET
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By Geoffrey Smith 

Investing.com -- The specter of stagflation in the U.S. reared its ugly head on Thursday as new data suggested that the economy contracted in the first quarter.

Gross domestic product shrunk at an annualized rate of 1.4% in the three months through March, down from 6.9% in the fourth quarter, and a much more negative first reading than had been expected. Consensus forecasts had been for growth of 1.1%.

Analysts argued that the headline figure was misleadingly weak, being dominated by a big negative contribution from external trade – the trade deficit widened to over $270 billion in the first quarter -  and a drop in inventories.

However, final consumer demand was also much weaker than expected. It rose by an annualized 2.7% instead of the 3.5% expected, against a backdrop of inflation running at a 40-year high.

The numbers leave U.S. GDP some 0.4% below its pre-pandemic level and 2.1% below where it would have been if the pandemic hadn’t happened, according to Oxford Economics’ Greg Daco. He said the outlook was nonetheless better than the headline figure suggests.

“No this isn’t the onset of a recession,” Daco said via Twitter, pointing to the fact that GDP was still up 3.6% from a year earlier.

A contraction would also be at odds with many individual data series over the period. Business surveys by the regional Federal Reserve banks and private sector companies such as S&P Global have routinely shown activity at a robust level, while the labor market added over 1.6 million nonfarm jobs in the quarter.

Additionally, most recent GDP data have tended to be revised higher, as the government's method for compiling them doesn't completely reflect the change in working trends triggered by the pandemic.

However, the data do provide some evidence of the highest inflation in a generation sapping growth, as the start of a long tightening of monetary policy by the Federal Reserve looms.

Business investment grew at an annualized rate of 7.3% in the quarter, accelerating from 2.5% in the previous three months. That alone added 1.2 points to GDP.

Prices for core personal consumer expenditures, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, rose at an annual rate of 7.0% in the first quarter.

Financial markets appeared unable to decide what to make of the numbers. The dollar and S&P 500 Futures were both largely unchanged from before the release by 9:05 AM ET (1305 GMT).

U.S. GDP Fell Annualized 1.4% in First Reading for 1Q
 

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Comments (14)
me ish
me ish Apr 29, 2022 11:11AM ET
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talk about putting lipstick on a *******
Iyarin Boonnum
Iyarin Boonnum Apr 28, 2022 12:42PM ET
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Wow wow, minus GDP, Sign of recession has started!!! Sell all us stocks and U$D and bond. Doooom.is.coming!!!
William Bailey
William Bailey Apr 28, 2022 12:30PM ET
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They cooked the books to get 1.4 , hurray! But for inflation … meaning we have negative growth and are falling into recession!! Thank you Fed!!
William Bailey
William Bailey Apr 28, 2022 12:30PM ET
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This was a gopq creation… 6 trillion from two worthless wars , Fed print job in 2020 … Biden was handed a steaming pile of sh!”
James Pattison
James Pattison Apr 28, 2022 11:07AM ET
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Bidenflation forever… when will people learn the democrats will always try to make more poor people who depend on government assistance… time to get off thier plantation
Michael Paulsen
Michael Paulsen Apr 28, 2022 10:49AM ET
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Biden is an absolute disaster. Forget recession, we are hurdling straight to depression.
Connecticut Yankee
A_Jaundiced_Eye Apr 28, 2022 10:20AM ET
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Biden is "Son of Jimmy Carter".  Welcome back to the Days of Malaise. (Which Obama said (the 70's) were much better than today.)
Nuno Lou
Nuno Lou Apr 28, 2022 10:17AM ET
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Stagflation... But the algos are already set for the dollar to continue is rally
Dany FX
Dany FX Apr 28, 2022 10:17AM ET
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Somebody should tell Biden that dollar at this levels agains all currencies actually hurts the ***out of the economy…
Plyler McManus
Plyler McManus Apr 28, 2022 9:26AM ET
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Recessflation
Jing Wu
Jing Wu Apr 28, 2022 9:22AM ET
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FED: No worry! We just have a transitory recession ........ until ops...maybe not *******R word flashing
Dennis Wozny
Dennis Wozny Apr 28, 2022 9:14AM ET
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Covid ??? Try poor weak policy
 
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