Thursday, April 18, 2013

The U.S. economy likely grew After all, Thanks to Oil

There's big news here and in other places after the government reported on January 30 that the U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter.Never mind. A little over a week later, a surprisingly large number of prominent trade economists now predict that the government will revise its estimate for gross domestic product in the final three months of 2012 in positive territory. The Commerce Department said the trade deficit shrank 21 percent to approximately $ 39 billion trade gap smallest since January 2010. Oil is the biggest factor. In the U.S. a barrel of imported crude fewest in nearly 16 years, while fuel exports rose.Commerce Bureau's actually Economic Analysis releases first quarterly GDP growth estimate just a month after the quarter ends, so forced assumptions and extrapolation to fill in missing data. The accuracy of the estimates improve further information arrives.Economists quickly integrated the new numbers in their estimates of GDP. The Macroeconomic Advisers (short) estimates that the economy grew at an annual rate of 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter. "The U.S. trade balance improved dramatically at the end of last year," wrote UniCredit (UCG) Bandholz economist clients.Wait damage, though. That was not the end of the matter. Shortly after placing better-than-expected trade data, the government released a worse-than-expected wholesale inventory data. Macroeconomic Advisers says' Ben Herzon including inventory tends to reduce the estimated growth of about 0.4 percent to 0.5 percent. Barclays (BCS) estimates 0.3 percent. Written by JPMorgan (JPM) Chase economist Daniel Silver to clients: "Our estimate tracking 4Q GDP growth is now at 0.2%." Net change tend economy probably will not actually shrink in the fourth quarter after all. On the other hand, it does not grow much, either.

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