Earlier today we said that following the abysmal January spending data revision as shown in the chart below:
... that "the Atlanta Fed will have no choice but to revise its Q1 "nowcast" to 1.0% or even lower, which would make the first quarter the lowest quarter since the "polar vortex" impacted Q1 of 2015, and the third worst GDP quarter since Q4 2012. It means one-third of already low Q1 GDP growth has just been wiped away."
It was "even lower."
Moments ago the Atlanta Fed which models concurrent GDP, slashed its Q1 GDP from 1.4% (and 1.9% last week) to a number not even we expected: a paltry 0.6%, which would match the "polar vortexed" GDP print from Q1 2015.
Should the number drop even more, will be the lowest since Q1 of 2014 when the US economy suffered its most recent contraction of nearly -1%.
This is what the Atlanta Fed said:
The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the first quarter of 2016 is 0.6 percent on March 28, down from 1.4 percent on March 24. After this morning's personal income and outlays release from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the forecast for first-quarter real consumer spending growth fell from 2.5 percent to 1.8 percent. The forecast for the contribution of net exports to first-quarter real GDP growth declined from –0.26 percentage points to –0.52 percentage points following this morning's advance report on international trade in goods from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Here is another way of visualizing just how bad things suddenly are in the US economy, and no - this time one can't blame ther weather. This is the lowest GDP estimate by the Fed going back to May 2015.
There is one problem with even this sharply reduced number: the downward revised Atlanta Fed's consumer spending estimate of 1.8% is still about 0.5% higher than where the hard data says it should be, suggesting when all is said and done, Q1 GDP may be 0% or negative, especially if the long overdue (and once again delayed) inventory liquidation finally takes place.
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Finally, there is an even bigger problem here: see if you can spot it when looking at the Atlanta Fed index vs lagged US macro...
... and lagged US stocks.
And with, Janet, the ball is in your "rate-hiking" court.