GDP boosted by consumers going all in on borrowing and falling savings

“This Is 1987”: Some “Haunting Math” On Today’s GDP Number From David Rosenberg

When discussing today’s unexpectedly weak Q4 GDP print, which came in at 2.6%, far below consensus and whisper estimates in the 3%+ range, and certainly both the Atlanta and NY Fed estimates, we pointed out the silver lining: personal spending and final sales, which surged 4.6% Q/Q (vs 2.2% in Q3), although even this number had a major caveat: “as we discussed previouslymuch of it was the result of a surge in credit card-funded spending while the personal savings rate dropped to levels last seen during the financial crisis.”
Indeed, recall the stunning Gluskin Sheff chart we presented a month ago, which showed that 13-week annualized credit card balances in the U.S. had gone “completely vertical” in the last few months of 2017 which we said “should make for some great Christmas.”

Meanwhile, even more troubling was the ongoing collapse in the US personal savings rate, which last month tumbled to the lowest level since the financial crisis as US consumers drained what little was left of their savings to splurge on holiday purchases.

US Savings Rate Near 70-Year Lows, Matches 2007 Levels

  • It’s back down at 2007 levels, fourth-quarter GDP data showed
  • It can’t fall forever, and ‘as the consumer goes, so goes GDP’
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5 thoughts on “GDP boosted by consumers going all in on borrowing and falling savings

    • Men can be insensitive and mess up too.
      “A couple were in a busy shopping center just before Christmas.
      The wife suddenly noticed that her husband was missing and as they had a lot to do, so she called him on the mobile phone.
      The wife said ” Where are you, you know we have lots to do.”
      He said “You remember the jewelers we went into about 10 years ago, and you fell in love with that diamond necklace? I could not afford it at the time and I said that one day I would get it for you?”
      Little tears started to flow down her cheek and she got all? choked up…
      “Yes, I do remember that shop.” she replied.
      “Well I am in the gun shop next door to that.”
      It was a cold, cold Christmas.

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