FinanceCorporateMarch 15, 2017

Wolters Kluwer's Blue Chip Economic Indicators panelists now anticipate softer-than-previously predicted real GDP growth this quarter, but leave consensus forecast of annual growth unchanged

The consensus forecast of real GDP growth this quarter fell a moderate 0.3 of a percentage point over the past month to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (saar) of 1.9 percent, according to the March issue of Wolters Kluwer’s Blue Chip Economic Indicators. The decline resulted from lowered expectations of growth in personal consumption expenditures, inventory building, and government spending, coupled with a wider trade deficit.

However, the consensus forecast of real GDP growth in the second quarter of this year increased by 0.2 of a percentage point to 2.5 percent (saar). As a result, consensus forecasts of the annual and fourth quarter-over-quarter change in 2017 real GDP growth went unchanged at 2.3 percent.

“The consensus forecast of the annual change in 2017 real GDP growth has remained within a range of 2.2 to 2.3 percent since April of last year, and for a third consecutive month, the consensus forecast that real GDP growth in 2018 will register an annual increase of 2.4 percent,” said Randell E. Moore, executive editor of Wolters Kluwer’s Blue Chip Economic Indicators. “However, failure by Republicans in Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and to pass tax reform legislation this year would likely prompt panelists to cut their forecasts of economic growth for 2017 and 2018.”

Other consensus findings from the March issue of Wolters Kluwer’s Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey include:

  • The Consumer Price Index still is forecast to register an annual increase of 2.5 percent this year, the highest since 2011.
  • Nominal or current dollar GDP is forecast to increase 1.4 percentage points more this year than last, but real or inflation-adjusted GDP by only 0.8 of a percentage point. The difference is the result of faster inflation this year than last.
  • Housing starts are expected to total 1.26 million units this year, the highest since 2007.
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