Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Quick Notes on GDP

I have about 10 minutes.

The overall GDP report is here

I have one big problem with this report. The GDP price deflator increased .8%? That is really low and just doesn't add up. The second lowest deflator over the last few years is 1.7 in the fourth quarter of 2006. Aside from that number and this month's number, most deflators are over 2% (see table IV in the link above). Playing the Sesame Street game "One of these things is not like the other one", that number should raise a ton of eyebrows.

Considering oil is near a record level, agricultural prices are in the middle of a multi-year bull run as are some metals, a deflator that low just doesn't add up.

Here's how the WSJ reported the inflation numbers from the report:

The price index for personal consumption expenditures rose by 1.7% after increasing 4.3% in the second quarter. But the much-watched PCE price gauge excluding food and energy accelerated, rising 1.8% after increasing 1.4% in the second quarter. Other price gauges in the report showed slowing inflation [BD's note -- really? Seen a chart of oil, agricultural or metals prices lately?], including the price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents. It rose 1.6% after increasing 3.8%. The chain-weighted GDP price index increased 0.8% after increasing 2.6% in the second quarter.