Q1 GDP grew at an annual rate of 1.2%, the Commerce Department reported, slightly higher than the initial estimates and the consensus forecasts. Personal consumption rose at a 0.6% annual rate rather than a 0.4% annual rate, according to the revision.
That’s nothing to write home about. Meanwhile orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft were unchanged in April (vs. a consensus expectation for a 0.5% gain. Year on year, capital goods orders are up barely 1%, which means that in real terms they are essentially unchanged.
American businesses are waiting to see the shape of the Trump tax reform before committing funds. The Atlanta Fed’s GDP tracking model, which projects GDP growth from data announcements, forecasts a 4.1% annual rate of GDP growth for the second quarter, but a good deal of that (1.2 percentage points) is due to expected inventory accumulation. Net of inventories, the two-quarter GDP growth rate is running below 2% a year.