Strong U.S. economic growth expected in fourth quarter, outlook darkening

Strong U.S. economic growth expected in fourth quarter, outlook darkening

  • Fourth-quarter GDP forecast to extend at a 2.6% charge
  • Strong client spending seen; different sectors to contribute
  • Weekly jobless claims expected to rise reasonably

WASHINGTON, Jan 26 (Reuters) – The U.S. economic system probably maintained a powerful tempo of growth in the fourth quarter as customers boosted spending on items, however momentum seems to have slowed significantly in the direction of the tip of the yr, with increased rates of interest eroding demand.

The Commerce Department’s advance fourth-quarter gross home product report on Thursday may mark the final quarter of stable growth earlier than the lagged results of the Federal Reserve’s quickest financial coverage tightening cycle because the Eighties kick in. Most economists count on a recession by the second half of the yr, although delicate in comparison with earlier downturns.

Retail gross sales have weakened sharply during the last two months and manufacturing seems to have joined the housing market in recession. While the labor market stays sturdy, enterprise sentiment continues to bitter, which may ultimately harm hiring.

“This seems prefer it may very well be the final actually optimistic, sturdy quarterly print we’ll see for some time,” stated Sam Bullard, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Markets and most of the people will look via this quantity. More current information are suggesting that economic momentum is constant to gradual.”

According to a Reuters survey of economists, GDP growth probably elevated at a 2.6% annualized charge final quarter after accelerating at a 3.2% tempo in the third quarter. Estimates ranged from a 1.1% charge to a 3.7% tempo.

Robust second-half growth would erase the 1.1% contraction in the primary six months of the yr.

Growth for the complete yr is expected to return in at round 2.1%, down from the 5.9% logged in 2021. The Fed final yr raised its coverage charge by 425 foundation factors from close to zero to a 4.25%-4.50% vary, the best since late 2007.

Consumer spending, which accounts for greater than two-thirds of U.S. economic exercise, is expected to have grown at a tempo quicker than the two.3% charge notched in the third quarter. That would principally replicate a surge in items spending in the beginning of the quarter.

Spending has been underpinned by labor market resilience in addition to extra financial savings accrued in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. But demand for long-lasting manufactured items, that are principally purchased on credit score, has fizzled and a few households, particularly decrease revenue, have depleted their financial savings.

Economic growth additionally probably acquired a raise from enterprise spending on tools, mental property and nonresidential constructions. But with demand for items tanking, enterprise spending additionally misplaced some luster because the fourth quarter ended.

Despite the clear indicators of a weak handover to 2023, some economists are cautiously optimistic that the economic system will skirt an outright recession, however somewhat endure a rolling downturn, the place sectors decline in flip somewhat than suddenly.


They argue that financial coverage now acts with a shorter lag than was beforehand the case due to advances in know-how and the U.S. central financial institution’s transparency, which they stated resulted in monetary markets and the true economic system performing in anticipation of charge hikes.

“We will proceed to have optimistic GDP numbers,” stated Sung Won Sohn, a finance and economics professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. “The motive is sectors are taking turns taking place, and never simultaneous declining. The rolling recession started with housing and now we’re seeing the subsequent part which is consumption associated.”

Indeed, with demand for items slumping, manufacturing facility manufacturing has declined sharply for 2 straight months. Job cuts in the know-how business have been additionally seen as flagging cutbacks in capital spending by companies.

While residential funding probably suffered its seventh straight quarterly decline, which might be the longest such streak because the collapse of the housing bubble triggered the Great Recession, there are indicators the housing market may very well be stabilizing. Mortgage charges have been trending decrease because the Fed slows the tempo of its charge hikes.

Inventory accumulation was seen including to GDP final quarter, however with demand slowing, companies are more likely to deal with lowering inventory in their warehouse somewhat than putting new orders, which might undercut growth in the quarters forward.

Trade, which accounted for the majority of GDP growth in the third quarter, was seen both making a small contribution or subtracting from GDP growth. Strong growth is expected from authorities spending.

While the labor market so far has proven exceptional resilience, economists argue that deteriorating enterprise situations will pressure corporations to gradual hiring and lay off employees.

Companies outdoors the know-how business in addition to interest-rate delicate sectors like housing and finance are hoarding employees after struggling to seek out labor in the course of the pandemic.

A separate report from the Labor Department on Thursday is more likely to present preliminary claims for state unemployment advantages rose to a seasonally adjusted 205,000 for the week ended Jan. 21, from 190,000 in the prior week, in line with a Reuters survey of economists.

“We count on preliminary jobless claims will ultimately begin to flip again up after their current drop, per an eventual downturn in payrolls and an increase in the unemployment charge,” stated Kevin Cummins, chief economist at NatWest Markets in Stamford, Connecticut. “In flip, we count on spending to gradual as customers can be much less prepared to run down financial savings in the face of a deteriorating labor market.”

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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