US GDP growth came in higher than expected with 2.1% growth vs. 1.8% expected. Growth is still down from the 3.1% growth seen in Q1, although that was partially attributed to a backlog of stockpiled inventory. On the other hand, personal consumption saw a major uptick in Q2 compared to Q1.
- Q2 GDP grew at 2.1% according to a report released on Friday, exceeding expectations of 1.8% growth.
- The unexpected bump was largely due to the increase in personal consumption which rose by the largest amount since 2014.
- Personal consumption was 4.3% vs. 4% expected and compared to just 0.9% in Q1.
Q2 GDP was driven largely by the rise in personal consumption which hit a 5-year high in Q2, making it the leading contributor to economic expansion. Personal consumption rose by 4.3%, above expectations of 4% - economists had, however, predicted a major uptick from the weak 0.9% reading measured in Q1.
Friday’s report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis measured quarterly core-PCE at 1.8% vs 2% expected and compared to just 1.2% in Q1.
Though slightly above expectations, the reading marks a sharp slowdown in US economic growth. GDP growth has now decelerated both on a quarterly and annual basis, largely due to the trade wars launched by the US government against major economies such as China. The conflicts have severely impacted manufacturing as well as business investment.
The BEA stated in the Friday report that the slowdown in real GDP in the second quarter “reflected downturns in inventory investment, exports, and nonresidential fixed investment,” although this has been partially offset by federal government spending and a rise in PCE.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stated earlier this month that consumer spending is one of the more reliable drivers in the US economy, with consumption activity “running at a solid pace” following the Q1 pullback. Consumer spending accounts for 70% of the US economy and retail sales rose 0.4% monthly through April, May, and June.
Bottom line on Q2 GDP: Business investment was terrible. It came in at -0.6%, the worst since early 2016.
— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) July 26, 2019
Gold prices have taken a hit following the release of the news, with gold now trading at $1,421.77/oz. After taking a steeper downturn, spot gold is now trading near the top of today’s range again, perhaps indicating that prices are stabilizing following the GDP report.