Fundamental data for the US was a bit of mixed bag yesterday. We kicked off with the quarterly GDP number. Economic growth slowed in the final quarter of the year with GDP posting 2.2 percent, missing forecast and down from the previous quarter. This does leave full-year growth at 2.9% putting 2018 as the best year since 2015 and well above the 2.2% increase seen in 2017. However, given the recent slowdown in global economies pressure now mounts for 1st quarter GDP where slow growth is expected, and some are even looking for the 1st signs of a recession. Our estimate is for 1st quarter GDP to be below 2%.
The Dollar found some support after the downward revision of GDP through the unemployment claim numbers. The data highlighted claims fell to their lowest level in 2 months posting 211K where 222k was to be expected. 3 Fed members all spoke yesterday. They all sounded cautiously optimistic about the outlook, with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, saying ‘it's premature to consider a rate cut,’ adding that he expects growth to pick up in the second quarter. China Trade talk was few and far between with Trump tweeting, "doing well in trade talks with China." In the past, these comments have sparked a flurry, but markets seem to become immune to these now. Finance minister Mnuchin and trade representative Lighthizer had a ‘productive’ dinner with the Chinese delegation ahead of a full day of talks today between the two sides. Meanwhile, Larry Kudlow, Trump's economic advisor, tempered expectations, saying the US is willing to extend the process for weeks or months to get the right deal for the US.