The Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model has steadily dropped from above 3% growth forecasted for Q1 2017 down to just barely positive as of today: 0.2%. Here is the reasoning from the Atlanta Fed:
The forecast of first-quarter real consumer spending growth fell from 0.3 percent to 0.1 percent after yesterday's annual retail trade revision by the U.S. Census Bureau. The forecast of the contribution of inventory investment to first-quarter growth declined from -0.76 percentage points to -1.11 percentage points after this morning's advance reports on durable manufacturing and wholesale and retail inventories from the Census Bureau.
The Fed has been saying that since the economy was so grand (supported of course by consumer spending — oops), it was time to up the monetary "tightening" efforts. In addition to fed funds rate increases, they are anticipating adjustments to the balance sheet. But this was all dependent on a cooperative economy, which now looks like it's not doing so hot. Which may, to the the dismay of politicians, Wall Street gamblers, and central bankers everywhere, "require" them to keep the monetary juices flowing. Aw shucks.
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C.Jay Engel is an entrepreneur who owns several businesses and lives with his wife and four children in northern California. He is an avid reader of the Austro-libertarian literature and a dedicated proponent of private property and sound money. He is the creator and editor of AustroLibertarian.com and its associated new publicationAustro Libertarian Magazine.