Serrari Group

The latest data from the US Commerce Department reveals a slower-than-expected economic growth rate of 1.3% for the first quarter of the year, marking the weakest quarterly expansion since spring 2022. This downward revision from the initial 1.6% projection is primarily attributed to a surge in imports and a reduction in business inventories, both factors prone to quarterly fluctuations.

While the overall GDP growth has tapered, consumer spending, a significant driver of economic activity, remained resilient. However, the pace of spending moderated to 2%, down from the previously estimated 2.5%. Notably, spending on goods, including appliances and furniture, experienced a notable decline, while spending on services saw a healthy increase of 3.9%, marking the highest growth rate since mid-2021.

Inflation remains a concern despite the revised GDP figures. Consumer prices rose by 3.3% annually, with core inflation, excluding food and energy costs, also witnessing an uptick to 3.6%.

The unexpected resilience of the US economy amidst rising inflation and interest rates is noteworthy. Despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to curb inflation by raising interest rates, economic growth has persisted, and employers have continued to hire. However, signs of potential economic weakening are emerging, including increasing credit card delinquencies and a slowdown in hiring.

Businesses are adapting their strategies to navigate the current economic landscape, focusing on offering price reductions and budget-friendly deals to attract consumers grappling with higher costs. Additionally, the anticipated benefits of lower interest rates have been delayed, with the Fed postponing plans for rate cuts despite earlier indications.

Despite concerns, economists maintain a cautiously optimistic outlook, citing the resilience of consumer spending and ongoing hiring as positive indicators amidst the challenging economic environment.

photo source: Google

By: Montel Kamau

Serrari Financial Analyst

31st May, 2024

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