Economic Update – US and French GDP Revised Down, US Credit Card & Student Debt Now Over $1 Trillion, more…

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Zero Hedge: Atlanta Fed Slashes Q1 GDP To Just 0.6%, Lowest In Three Years

  • Remember when the Fed was “data dependent”? Well, if the Atlanta Fed is right, Janet Yellen will have hiked the Fed’s interest rate in a quarter in which GDP has grown by a paltry 0.6%, down from 1.2% as of its latest estimate. If confirmed, this would be the lowest quarterly GDP growth in three years, since Q1 of 2014.
  • Incidentally, just over two months ago, the same forecast stood at 3.4%, it has since fallen by over 80%.

Bloomberg: Yellen Says Fed’s Focus Has Shifted to Holding Growth Gains

  • Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the U.S. central bank’s task has shifted from a post-crisis exercise of healing the economy to one aimed at holding on to progress made.
  • “Before, we had to press down on the gas pedal trying to give the economy all of the oomph that we possibly could,” Yellen said Monday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Fed is now trying to “give it some gas, but not so much that we’re pushing down hard on the accelerator.”
  • “We want to be ahead of the curve and not behind it,” she said. “We don’t want to be in a position where we have to raise rates rapidly, which could conceivably cause a recession.”

Market Watch: Bank of France trims first-quarter growth forecast

  • The Bank of France trimmed its first-quarter economic growth forecast Monday, based on monthly business activity indicators in March.
  • French gross domestic product will rise 0.3% on quarter in the first quarter of the year instead of 0.4% forecast in February, the central bank said. The Bank of France said the revision isn’t significant enough to compromise full-year growth forecasts.

Market Watch: Consumer credit accelerates again as credit-card debt tops $1 trillion

  • The amount of credit-card debt held by U.S. consumers increased in February after they took a breather in the prior month, pushing use of plastic above $1 trillion, according to a new report released Friday.
  • Total consumer credit increased $15.2 billion in February to a seasonally adjusted $3.79 trillion, posting an annual growth rate of 4.8%, the Federal Reserve reported Friday.

Zero Hedge: US Credit Card Debt Rises Above $1 Trillion For The First Time In A Decade

  • Unlike last month’s unexpectedly week consumer credit report, which saw a plunge in revolving, or credit card, debt moments ago the Fed, in its latest G.19 release, announced that there were few surprises in the February report: Total revolving credit rose by $2.9 billion, undoing last month’s $2.6 billion drop – the biggest since 2012 – while non-revolving credit increased by $12.3 billion, for a total increase in February consumer credit of $15.2 billion, roughly in line with the $15 billion expected.
  • However, while in general the data was uneventful, there was one notable milestone: in February, following modest prior revisions, total revolving/credit card debt, has once again risen above the “nice round number” of $1 trillion for the first time since January 2007…

Business Insider: 5 alarming facts about America’s $1.3 trillion in student loan debt

  • The president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank sounded the alarm on Monday that the student debt crisis continues to mount.
  • At a staggering $1.3 trillion, outstanding student loan debt is casting a financial pall on millions of Americans, according to a new study by the bank.

Market Watch: Toshiba warns it may be unable to stay in business

  • Toshiba Corp. on Tuesday expressed doubt for the first time over whether it can continue as a going concern, citing huge losses at its U.S. nuclear subsidiary after the subsidiary’s bankruptcy filing last month.
  • The company issued the warning alongside its earnings for the December quarter. It released the earnings after two delays, but it had to do so without the approval of its auditor.
  • In the earnings report, Toshiba reiterated that it anticipates a net loss of Yen1.01 trillion ($9.1 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.

RTT: Eurozone Industrial Output Falls Unexpectedly In February

  • Eurozone industrial production declined unexpectedly in February, after rebounding in the previous month, data from Eurostat showed Tuesday.
  • Industrial output dropped 0.3 percent month-over-month in February, reversing a 0.3 percent rise in January, which was revised down from 0.9 percent.
  • Meanwhile, economists had expected a 0.1 percent slight increase for the month.
  • Among sectors, energy production fell the most by 4.7 percent over the month, followed by non-durable consumer goods, which decreased 1.1 percent. At the same time, production of intermediate goods registered an increase of 1.0 percent.

Bloomberg: U.K. Inflation Rise Takes Easter Break as Rate Stays at 2.3%

  • U.K. inflation’s upward trajectory paused in March as the timing of Easter led to a drop in airfares, offsetting increases in the price of food and clothing.
  • While the rate was unchanged compared with February at 2.3 percent, that’s still the highest since 2013 and up from just 0.5 percent a year ago. The increase over the past year reflects higher fuel costs and the pound’s decline since the Brexit vote in June.
  • On the month, consumer prices rose 0.4 percent, the Office for National Statistics said. Airfares fell 4 percent, compared with a 23 percent jump a year earlier, when the Easter holiday fell in March.
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