Q3 GDP Roars To 2.8% Despite Weakest Consumer In Over Two Years

A day of fireworks that started with the stunner by Goldman's head of the ECB has just gotten its second wind following the preliminary announcement of Q3 GDP, which roared from 2.5% to 2.84%, far above expectations of a 2.0% annualized number.

On the surface this was a bad number for Taper watchers, as it may mean the Fed will actually have to moderate its monthly flow precisely at the time when the ECB was forced to do "whatever it takes" in its fight with inflation, however a quick look at the internals shows that once again there is much more than meets the eye: because while the headline print was the strongest since Q3 2012, the core driver of economic growth, Personal Consumption, grew 1.5% below the expected 1.6%. Specifically, of the 2.84% number, PCE was just 1.04%, the lowest since Q2 2011!

Elsewhere, fixed investment - an indication of capex -  was just 0.63%, below the 0.96% reported last quarter. So what drove "growth"? Why the traditional hollow component: Inventory, which amounted to 0.83% of the 2.8% print, double the 0.41% in the prior quarter. Net trade added an additional 0.3%, and finally government ticked on a modest 0.04% - the first positive contribution since Q3 2013.

In short: a little in here for everyone, with the market bulls happy to point out that the US consumer is the weakest he has been in over two years, while economist happy to highlight that the US economy is, in fact, growing at a brisk pace.