Blame the Shutdown for the U.S. GDP Miss

U.S. GDP Grows Below-Expectations at 2.6% in 4Q

Why did U.S. fourth-quarter economic growth miss forecasts? At least some blame can go to the brief government shutdown earlier this week.

Data on December merchandise trade and inventories were originally due Thursday, but the Census Bureau release was delayed by a day and released at the same time as gross domestic product. That deprived analysts of figures that help them refine growth estimates.

The so-called advance economic indicators report, which showed that last month’s goods-trade deficit unexpectedly widened to the biggest since 2008, would have likely prompted some analysts to lower GDP projections. The GDP report showed the drag from trade was the largest in a year.

“Had the advance trade and inventories indicators release come out yesterday, as originally scheduled, we would have known that was coming,” Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC, said in a note Friday.

— With assistance by Sho Chandra

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