Weekly Economic Insights - 4 March 2019

Macro Highlights - 3/7/2019

Highlights of the week

Economist insights: Acceleration in US GDP growth in Q4 2018 but a more moderate outlook for the start of 2019, rebound of the Caixin manufacturing PMI in China, limited increase in Swiss GDP

United States

  • GDP continued to accelerate in the last quarter of 2018, up 3.1% y-o-y, after 3.0% in the third quarter. Average US GDP growth in 2018 thus came in at 2.9%, vs. 2.2% in 2017
  • The most recent economic data nevertheless point to more moderate business investment, notably the manufacturing ISM, which decreased from 56.6 to 54.2 in February…
  • …in line with our scenario of a slowdown in GDP growth to 2.7% in 2019


  • The Caixin manufacturing PMI rebounded sharply in February, up from 48.3 to 49.9, thus nearing the 50-point mark
  • The official government composite PMI contracted slightly in February, after rising in January. But business sentiment rebounded strongly, notably in the manufacturing sector
  • These developments indicate that the Chinese stimulus plan is producing its first effects, which would be in line with our scenario of a slight acceleration in GDP growth in H1


  • Following a 0.3% decline, the GDP rebound was limited, with 0.2% growth q-o-q in Q4 owing to an improvement in net exports
  • After a period of strong GDP growth from Q2 2017 to H1 2018, the Swiss economy showed a clear slowdown in the second half of 2018
  • Employment also lost momentum in second-half 2018, with y-o-y growth of 1.5% on average after 2.0% in H1


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