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U.S. GDP contraction places Yellen in tight spot as financial cheerleader By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen attends a gathering with South Korean Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic system and Finance Choo Kyung-ho at Lotte Lodge, in Seoul, South Korea July 19, 2022. Chung Sung-Jun/Pool through REUTERS/File Picture

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. economic system’s contraction for a second consecutive quarter will make it harder for Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to painting a picture of financial well being at a information convention afterward Thursday.

The Commerce Division reported earlier on Thursday that U.S. gross home product shrank 0.9% within the second quarter. The drop, approaching high of a 1.6% contraction within the first quarter, rapidly fueled debate amongst economists and politicians as as to if america is or quickly will likely be in recession.

Yellen is because of maintain a information convention at 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT) at which she is predicted to remain firmly within the “not a recession” camp. She has been saying in current weeks that the standard short-hand definition of a recession – two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction – doesn’t apply on this case, largely due to a powerful U.S. job market.

A Treasury media advisory on Tuesday stated Yellen briefly remarks “will underscore America’s historic restoration over the past 18 months from the depths of the pandemic, with over 9 million jobs created, the largest single-year decline in unemployment on file, and the quickest 12 months of financial development in 2021 in virtually 4 many years.”

Yellen additionally will spotlight world challenges to the U.S. economic system, together with inflation pushed by the conflict in Ukraine and ongoing pandemic-related provide disruptions, the advisory stated, and focus on “the resilience of America’s employees, companies and economic system within the face of those worldwide headwinds.”

The Treasury chief final 12 months had argued that inflation can be “transitory,” receding as supply-chain disruptions eased. However inflation has confirmed extra persistent – client costs rose at a 9.1% annual tempo in June – and he or she admitted in late Could that she was “unsuitable” in regards to the path inflation would take.


The argument that america might be able to escape recession because the Federal Reserve tightens financial coverage to deliver inflation again all the way down to the central financial institution’s 2% goal could also be tougher to make amid indicators that client spending and the housing market are slowing precipitously.

Thursday’s GDP report confirmed client spending grew simply 1% final quarter, down sharply from 1.8% within the prior interval. Residential funding plunged at a price of 14% – the largest housing drag on GDP in 14 years.

Retail big Walmart (NYSE:) on Monday warned that it must slash costs to clear bloated inventories as excessive meals and gasoline prices have been prompting shoppers to chop again discretionary spending.

Certainly, meals inflation was a significant drag on second-quarter GDP. Whereas nominal spending on meals for consumption at dwelling was up by $5.9 billion, Individuals’ “actual” meals consumption adjusted for the very best inflation in 4 many years tumbled by $33.5 billion from 1 / 4 earlier, creating its largest drag on the economic system in almost half a century.

Spending on meals:

Reacting to the info, some economists and market analysts have been already beginning to declare a “technical” recession.

“These are disappointing numbers, clearly, and the primary quarter was revised decrease,” stated Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York. “The market has been forecasting a recession. From a textbook viewpoint, this can be a recession and a gentle one.”

Artwork Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Wealth Administration in New York, stated it was “straightforward to get caught up within the semantics” over recession terminology, however the economic system feels weak.

“I feel the economic system feels the best way it feels to you, and when you really feel just like the economic system is awful as a result of you already know you are being pinched by larger costs then you already know you are in a recession. Simply the phrase ‘recession’ signifies that we’re receding and financial development is clearly receding.”

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