The U.S. commerce department is scheduled to release its second estimate of third quarter GDP at 8:30 a.m. EST Tuesday, and analysts would be looking for a bump in the previous reading from last month.
Consensus estimates, based on more recent economic data, now pegs GDP growth at 2.1 percent for Q3 -- up from the 1.5 percent reading published in October. If there is a significant upward revision in the GDP estimate, it would boost the case for a December rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve -- which many are already considering a done deal.
In a statement accompanying the advance GDP estimate last month, the commerce department blamed the deceleration in Q3 GDP -- which fell from 3.9 percent in the second quarter -- to a downturn in private inventory investment and a drop in exports. It said that change in private inventories cut 1.44 percentage points off the 1.5 percent growth rate in the July-September period, as firms sold off inventory faster than they could replenish it.
However, since then, U. S. firms have accumulated significant inventory. According to a recent estimate by the commerce department, inventories climbed 0.3 percent in September. And, in the third quarter, American businesses accumulated $56.8 billion worth of inventory -- data that is likely to add to Tuesday’s quarterly growth estimate.
A strong dollar, which makes exports less competitive, coupled with cooling global demand caused by a slowdown in emerging market economies, was widely expected to drag down GDP in the third quarter. However, as data released last month showed, the U.S. economy mostly shrugged off trade-related disruptions. Exports rose 1.9 percent in the third quarter, while imports climbed 1.8 percent. Analysts will also keep an eye on potential revisions to trade figures in Tuesday’s report.
Consumer spending in the U.S. rose 3.2 percent in the third quarter -- down from 3.6 percent in the previous quarter. And, more recent data showed consumer spending rose a tepid 0.1 percent from a month earlier in September. However, the impact of this data will not be clear until next month when the commerce department releases data on services spending -- which can lead to a significant revision to the GDP figure.