The U.S. is to release preliminary figures on first quarter economic growthat 8:30AM ET (12:30GMT) Friday amid disparate forecasts.
The consensus is looking for the American economy to have expanded at an annual rate of 1.1% in the first three months of 2017, easing from growth of 2.1% in the fourth quarter.
It grew at a 3.5% rate in the third quarter and expanded 1.6% for all of 2016, its worst performance since 2011, after growing 2.6% in 2015.
That also compared to the average growth rate from 1950 to 2000 which was 3.7%. President Bush’s term from 2001 to 2008 generated an average GDP annual growth rate of 2.1%, while President Obama’s term logged a 1.5% expansion. Current President Donald Trump campaigned on pulling the economy back above 3%.
Outside the consensus, the regional Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Atlanta both prepared regularly updated forecasts that remained poles apart.
The NY Fed’s last update was one week ago and settled at 2.7%, but the Atlanta Fed adjusted their forecast on Thursday with a cut to just 0.2%, from the prior 0.5%.
A recent batch of disappointing data on employment, retail sales and inflation prompted market players to trim their bullish bets on the U.S. economy and push back expectations for two more hikes this year, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.
Fed fund futures currently price in the first rate hike for June with a probability of 65% but the odds for a second increase by the end of the year stood at only about 44%.
However, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said Friday, April 21, argued for the median call of two rate hikes in 2017, saying that weak growth in the U.S. economy in the first quarter will likely be temporary and interest-rate hikes should be able to proceed as planned.
“Our tendency is to think this [weakness in the first quarter] is a transitory change and that growth will be around forecasts in the second quarter and the rest of the year,” Fischer said in an interview on CNBC a week ago.
Ahead of the data release, U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly lower open. At 3:19AM ET (7:19GMT), the blue-chip Dow futures slipped 0.08%, S&P 500 futures dipped 0.06% and the Nasdaq 100 futures gave up 0.09%.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, slipped 0.04% at 98.98.
Lastly, gold for June delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange inched forward 76 cents, or 0.06%, to trade at $1,266.66.