Thursday, October 08, 2009

A little damper on your positive third-quarter GDP forecast 

Seen this yet?
Consumer credit decreased at an annual rate of 5-3/4 percent in August 2009. Revolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 13 percent, and nonrevolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 1-1/2 percent.

Note that "nonrevolving credit" includes auto loans. With all the Cash for Clunkers deals done in August, would you not have thought this would be positive? And cutting credit card balances at an annual rate of 13% makes it hard to imagine back-to-school sales did very well. But Labor Day was late, and the story goes that retailers had a better September.
The International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs preliminary tally registered an increase of 0.1 percent for September, compared with a 1 percent drop a year ago. While still tepid, the results mark the first gain since July 2008, when the index rose 1.3 percent.

As stores announced their results Thursday, J.C. Penney Co., Macy's Inc., and Target Corp. all reported smaller-than-expected declines in sales at stores open at least a year.
Not good, not positive, just "smaller-than-expected declines". I know the WSJ forecast for Q3 is for 3% growth; I'm trying to figure out where that growth will come from.