US GDP grew 3.2% annualized in the first three months of 2019, the US Department of Commerce announced on Friday (April 26th). Economists polled by Reuters forecast average growth of 2.0% after that of 2.2% in the fourth quarter of last year; their estimates ranged from 0.7% to 3.0%.
The growth of the American economy accelerated in the first quarter thanks mainly to the evolution of the trade balance and that of the stocks of the companies, two temporary factors which could fail it in the following quarters.
US exports grew 3.7% in the first quarter, while imports decreased by a double movement, which resulted in a positive contribution of 1.03 percentage points to GDP growth due to the higher weight. imports than exports in GDP, after a neutral effect on October-December.
Business inventories increased in line with the pace of $ 128.4 billion in the quarter, the highest since the second quarter of 2015. This increase translates into a contribution to growth of 0.65 percentage points, compared to 0, 1 point only in the fourth quarter of last year.
Uncertainties to come
US monetary officials should largely ignore the rebound in growth in the first quarter and focus on rising domestic demand which, at only 1.3%, is the lowest since the second quarter of 2013, a progression halved by report to the last quarter of 2018.
Growth in consumer spending slowed to 1.2% after + 2.5% in the fourth quarter, and business investment rose only 0.2%, its smallest increase since the third quarter of 2016. Residential construction expenditures fell 2.8% year-over-year, recording a fifth consecutive quarter of decline.
The Fed, whose Monetary Policy Committee meets next Tuesday and Wednesday, decided in January a pause in its tightening cycle began in December 2015, giving up a new rate hike this year after four hikes. last year.
US President Donald Trump praised Friday the “incredible” figure of this growth in the first quarter. “It's an incredible number,” he said from the Andrews military base, near Washington, before flying to Indiana. “We have fantastic growth and very low inflation, and our economy is doing very well.”
The New York Stock Exchange opened virtually unchanged after these numbers; In the bond market, the yield on 10-year Treasuries was down by almost three basis points to 2.505% and on the currency side, the dollar yielded 0.2% against a basket of international currencies.
(With Reuters and AFP)