2016 Economic Calendar
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GDP  
Released On 1/29/2016 8:30:00 AM For Q4a:2015
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Real GDP - Q/Q change - SAAR2.0 %0.9 %0.0 % to 2.3 %0.7 %
GDP price index - Q/Q change - SAAR1.3 %0.9 %0.2 % to 1.3 %0.8 %

Highlights
Consumer spending is the central driver of the economy but is slowing, at least it was during the fourth quarter when GDP rose only at a 0.7 percent annualized rate. Final demand rose 1.2 percent, which is the weakest since first quarter last year but is still 5 tenths above GDP.

Spending on services, adding 0.9 percentage points, was a leading contributor to the quarter as was spending on goods, at plus 0.5. Residential investment, another measure of consumer health, rose very solidly once again, contributing 0.3 percentage points. Government purchases added modestly to growth.

The negatives are on the business side especially those facing foreign markets. Net exports pulled down GDP by 0.5 percentage points. Non-residential investment pulled down GDP by more than 0.2 percentage points. Reduction in inventory investment, which the FOMC warned about on Wednesday, pulled the quarter down by 0.5 percentage points.

Price data are not accelerating, at plus 0.8 percent for the GDP price index which is the lowest reading since plus 0.1 in the first quarter last year. The core price reading is only slightly higher, at plus 1.1 percent which is also the weakest reading in a year.

There are definitely points of concern in this report, especially the weakness in exports and business investment, but it's the resilience in the consumer, despite a soft holiday season, that headlines this report and should help confirm faith in the domestic strength of the economy.

Recent History Of This Indicator
Sharp slowing is the Econoday consensus for the first estimate of fourth-quarter GDP, to plus 0.9 percent from the third-quarter's plus 2.0 percent. A widening in the trade gap and slowing in inventory accumulation are expected to have held down growth. Personal spending, following the lackluster holiday shopping season, is also expected to have slowed. But residential investment, reflecting strength in housing, is expected to be a positive.

Definition
Gross Domestic Product represents the total value of the country's production during the period and consists of the purchases of domestically-produced goods and services by individuals, businesses, foreigners and government entities. Data are available in nominal and real (inflation-adjusted) dollars, as well as in index form. Economists and market players always monitor the real growth rates generated by the GDP quantity index or the real dollar value. The quantity index measures inflation-adjusted activity, but we are more accustomed to looking at dollar values.

Household purchases are counted in personal consumption expenditures -- durable goods (such as furniture and cars), nondurable goods (such as clothing and food) and services (such as banking, education and transportation).

Private housing purchases are classified as residential investment. Businesses invest in nonresidential structures, durable equipment and computer software. Inventories at all stages of production are counted as investment. Only inventory changes, not levels, are added to GDP.

Net exports equal the sum of exports less imports. Exports are the purchases by foreigners of goods and services produced in the United States. Imports represent domestic purchases of foreign-produced goods and services and must be deducted from the calculation of GDP.

Government purchases of goods and services are the compensation of government employees and purchases from businesses and abroad. Data show the portion attributed to consumption and investment. Government outlays for transfer payments or interest payments are not included in GDP.

The GDP price index is a comprehensive indicator of inflation. It is typically lower than the consumer price index because investment goods (which are in the GDP price index but not the CPI) tend to have lower rates of inflation than consumer goods and services.
 Why Investors Care
 
[Chart]
Real GDP growth is always quoted at a quarterly annual rate. It measures how much the economy has grown over a three-month period. Quarterly growth rates are often volatile; consequently, economists also like to look at the year-over-year growth in GDP. The yearly changes tend to be more stable.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
[Chart]
It is common to compare quarterly changes at annual rates in the GDP deflator. These can be volatile, just like the quarterly swings in real GDP growth as a result, the trend in inflation is better determined by year- over- year changes.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
 

2016 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/292/263/254/285/276/287/298/269/2910/2811/2912/22
Release For: Q4a:2015Q4p:2015Q4f:2015Q1a:2016Q1p:2016Q1f:2016Q2a:2016Q2p:2016Q2f:2016Q3a:2016Q3p:2016Q3f:2016
 
A: Advance P: Preliminary F: Final


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