4th Quarter GDP On High End Of Expectations At 2.6%

The BEA combined the advance and second estimate into an "initial" report. Some data items were missing.

Based on incomplete data, the BEA reports the Initial Estimate of 4th-Quarter GDP at 2.6%.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the "initial" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.4 percent.

Due to the recent partial government shutdown, this initial report for the fourth quarter and annual GDP for 2018 replaces the release of the "advance" estimate originally scheduled for January 30th and the "second" estimate originally scheduled for February 28th.

The Bureau emphasized that the fourth-quarter initial estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency. Updated estimates for the fourth quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on March 28, 2019.

The Econoday consensus was 2.2% in a range of 1.7% to 2.8%.

Minor Shutdown Impact

BEA estimates the impact of these reductions in services provided by the federal government subtracted about 0.1 percentage point from real GDP growth in the fourth quarter.

Prices

The GDP price index deflator was 1.8 percent, the same as for the third quarter.

The price index for gross domestic purchases measures the prices of goods and services purchased by U.S. residents, regardless of where the goods and services are produced. In the fourth quarter, this index increased by 1.6 percent, compared with a 1.8 percent increase in the third. Excluding food and energy, gross domestic purchases prices increased by 1.8 percent, the same increase as in the third.

The PCE price index increased by 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter, following an increase of 1.6 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.7 percent after increasing 1.6 percent.

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