Thursday, July 30, 2009

Q2 GDP Predictions

T - 8 1/2 hours, but before we dive into the data, lets take a look at how we got here...

It's also important to keep in mind the relative size of each component (see chart below). If investments continue their collapse (I think they will), it will have a much smaller impact than if consumption cliff dives (I don't expect a cliff dive based on April-May figures).

With that in mind... my predictions (to take with a grain a salt).
  • Consumption: Slight decline, though the strong weight will have a substantial impact
  • Investment: Massively down, though the small weight with have less of an impact
  • Government spending: Nice jump and decent impact (call it 1% impact)
  • Net Exports: Strong positive; Imports: Down... a lot; Exports: Just down
Aggregate? Lets go with -1% and better than expected. Why better than expected? The importance of one HUGE wild card with this release. A BEA revision to methodology:
On July 31, 2009, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) will release the results of a comprehensive, or benchmark, revision of the national income and product accounts (NIPAs). The comprehensive revision will incorporate the results of the 2002 benchmark input-output (I-O) accounts as well as changes in definitions, classifications, statistical methods, source data, and presentation.

Advance information about the comprehensive revision will be posted here as it becomes available.
Ed from Credit Writedowns predicts:
The revision is the first since the end of 2003. I would expect downward revisions for 2008 and 2009, reflecting a recessionary environment. Both Q1 and Q2 2008 showed real GDP growth even though the recession began in December 2007. Q1 2008 came in at 0.9% and Q2 2008 was a Bush tax cut stimulus-influenced 2.8%. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Q1 2008 cut to a negative number.
Interesting. The BEA has the ability to change the methodology at a time when a better than expected headline number may do wonders for confidence... I hate to be such a conspiracy nut (kidding, that is my passion), but my initial thought is "how convenient". If Ed is correct, a downward decline to historical data means that any new figure will appear to be much better than expected as the same output will appear to be a rebound (or smaller fall) off of a lower base.

We shall see soon...

Source: BEA

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