At 8:30 a.m. ET, the Bureau of Economic Analysis will give us its third revision of Q1 GDP growth.
According to the consensus as measured by Bloomberg, economists see the growth rate unrevised at 2.4%.
However, Maury Harris and the U.S. economics team at UBS are not so optimistic.
“Q1 real GDP growth will probably be trimmed to a 2.1% annual rate on softer consumer spending on services,” they wrote in a note to clients on Friday.
“Our monthly spending data through May are consistent with real consumer spending running at just below a 3% annual rate in Q2—close to the estimated Q1 pace. PCE price measures are under additional scrutiny because of the Fed tilt toward tapering. Fed Chairman Bernanke has discounted some of the slowing in inflation, seeing it as transitory, but we forecast another 0.1% m/m rise in core PCE prices in May (with risks of a 0.2%).”
While this is a backward looking indicator, the magnitude of the revision could be an unwelcome development for the already jittery financial markets.
“Although not normally a big focus for markets we are expecting a downward revision to a 2.1% annualised rate,” said UBS’s Paul Donovan in his commentary this morning. “That may generate an impact, given the somewhat hysterical overreaction to anything that hints at changes in Fed policy.”
“Expect further market volatility and liquidity dislocations in the immediate period ahead,” said PIMCO’s Mohamed El-Erian last Wednesday. “Most importantly, markets and the Fed are now even more highly dependent on sustained evidence that the real economy is indeed on a solid improving trends, including a consequential rise in actual and expected nominal GDP growth.”
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