3/13/15, "Surprise: US Economic Data have been the World's Most Disappointing," Bloomberg,
Citigroup keeps economic surprise indexes for the world, and its
scoreboard shows the U.S. is most disappointing relative to consensus
forecasts, with Latin America and Canada next, as of March 12.
markets were supposed to be hurt by falling oil prices but are now
delivering positive surprises. U.S. policymakers frequently talk about
weakness in Europe and China, though both are exceeding expectations.
And there's one rub. The surprise shortfall in the U.S. doesn't
necessarily mean the world's largest economy is in dire straights. It's
just falling short of some perhaps overly elevated expectations. Where are the data beating economists' forecasts most consistently? Sweden....
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave no hint of concern in recent
congressional testimony, where she cited an "overall improvement in the
U.S. economy and the U.S. economic outlook," boosted by lower oil
First-quarter U.S. growth forecasts continue to be cut, and like last year, weather is getting a share of the blame.
JPMorgan Chase's Michael Feroli cut his forecast to 2 percent from
2.5 percent on March 6. Barclays Capital has reduced its estimate to 1.5
percent as of March 12. Macroeconomic Advisers' tracking forecast was
lowered to 1.7 percent on March 12.
The Atlanta Fed published a tracking forecast for GDP in the first
quarter, and that was halved to 0.6 percent after the retail report. If this all seems vaguely familiar, pretty much the same thing happened last year.
Then, a contraction in the first quarter that most everyone blamed on
the weather was followed by two blockbuster quarters with GDP averaging
Data can be noisy, and a loud surprise on the downside can pave the
way for performances that go on to beat expectations. Fed policymakers,
who meet Tuesday and Wednesday, may need some positive surprises to
begin to feel confident this year is on the right track." charts via Bloomberg