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Retail Sales Data Spurs Higher 1Q GDP Growth Forecast

Bond yields ended the holiday-shortened week on Thursday fractionally lower after reversing a mid-week spike.  The belly of the yield curve remains inverted, as six-month Treasury yield carry the highest yield until one gets to the 7-year point on the curve.  The week's economic releases painted a mixed picture of the US economy's performance in March, as strong retail sales and labor market data was offset by weakness in the housing market and industrial production. 

Given the economy's reliance on consumer spending, the strong 1.6% growth in March's retail sales was likely the week's most important release.  The net impact of the week's data was an sizable upward revision to the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank's estimation of first quarter GDP, which now stands at 2.8%.  If the first quarter's growth arrives near that number (the first estimate of GDP arrives next Friday), it would meaningfully outpace consensus economist expectations.

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