The second estimate of US third quarter GDP showed a downward revision from an annualized 2.5% Q/Q to 2.0% Q/Q, while no change was expected. The details show that the downward revision was mainly due to a bigger drag from inventories, but also personal (2.3% Q/Q from 2.4% Q/Q) and government (-0.1% Q/Q from 0.0% Q/Q) consumption and non-residential investment (14.8% Q/Q from 16.3% Q/Q) were downwardly revised. Those downward revision were partly offset by a significantly bigger positive contribution from net exports. While the headline figure was significantly weaker, the details are not so bad as the downward adjustment was mainly based in inventories, boding well for the coming quarters, as it suggests that inventories should be build up in the coming quarters.
In November, the Richmond Fed manufacturing index rose from -6 to 0, beating the consensus estimate which was looking for a more moderate improvement (to -2). The positive development is confirmed by the details as shipments (1 from -6), new orders (-2 from-5), order backlog (-10 from -15), vendor lead time (5 from 2), number of employees (0 from -7), average workweek (0 from -1) and wages (10 from 5) all rose compared to October. Only capacity utilization weakened slightly, from -4 to -6. Upward price pressures picked up again with both prices paid (3.42 from 2.20) and prices received (2.64 from 1.75) rising in November. The forward looking, six months from now, index rose from 28 to 36, suggesting that firms are becoming more positive on their business outlook. After already a significant improvement in the NY Fed manufacturing index, this outcome raises expectations that also the broader manufacturing ISM might pick up again in November after an unexpected decline last month. Recently, most US economic data came out on the better side of expectations and a rebound in the manufacturing ISM would provide further evidence that the economic climate is improving again, but the lingering debt crisis in the euro zone remains a risk factor.