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US weak, Europe weaker

Posted on Friday, October 31, 2008 at 11:06AM by Registered CommenterSimon Ward | CommentsPost a Comment

One of my themes this year has been that the US economy would outperform Europe.

Between the fourth and second quarters, US GDP rose by an annualised 1.8% versus 1.0% in the Eurozone and 0.6% in the UK.

Preliminary third-quarter US figures released yesterday show a 0.3% annualised decline but the UK fall was much larger, at 2.1%. Coming Eurozone numbers look set to show a performance closer to the UK than US.

The US figures were depressed by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and a strike at Boeing. The Federal Reserve estimated these factors depressed industrial production by 2.75% in September, implying a 0.9% impact on the third-quarter average, or 3.6% annualised. Industrial production accounts for 16% of GDP so this will have cut annualised GDP growth by 0.6%. This ignores effects on other sectors. In other words, the preliminary third-quarter growth estimate would have been slightly positive without the disruptions.

US GDP will decline in the fourth quarter but I still think prospects are worse in Europe.

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