This is typical of recent announcements:
“With most of the news on 1Q growth now in, the GDP “bean count” looks even softer than it did a couple of weeks ago. The most recent disappointments have come on the export side—with trade now set to subtract significantly from growth in the quarter—and from inventories. Consequently, we are downgrading our real GDP growth estimate to 1¾% (annualized), from 2½% previously (and from 3½% not too long ago).”
So what went wrong?
Maybe, as I guessed at just prior to year end:
The effect of world austerity was underestimated, particularly in Europe and China?
The effects of income channel from QE2 (remember the Fed turning over $79 billion to the tsy that the economy would have earned if the Fed hadn’t bought/owned those securities?) were underestimated?
The effect of the year end tax adjustment was less than anticipated, as work for pay that was eliminated maybe had higher propensities to consume than the 2%, one year FICA reduction?
Rising gasoline prices slowed things down some?
Rising food price as we burn up our food supply for fuel wreak havoc world wide?
So how about Q2, which is starting about as high as Q1 did?
High food and gasoline prices continue.
Supply disruptions from the Japan.
The Fed owns more tsy secs and has thereby removed more interest income from the economy.
World austerity intensifies, now including the US.
China’s inflation fight intensifies.
And business top line growth starting to falter from modest levels?
And this time the fiscal safety nets are in jeopardy as govt’s believe they have ‘run out of money’ and need to tighten up, with Japan now the prime example, looking at tax hikes to ‘pay for’ earthquake damage.