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LAST UPDATE:2/16/2019
CQM 20190215 CQM 20190215

It is surprising that retail sales plunged 1.2% in December, which is the largest decline since September 2009. Inventories for retailers decreased 0.4% in November after they increased 0.8% in October. Updating the above two economic indicators brought down the forecast of real GDP for 2018Q4 from a moderate growth of 2.3%-2.8% to a modest growth of 1.6%- 2.1%. The PCA forecast of real GDP was also revised downward from 2.3% to 1.8% for 2018Q4. Since the large December decline in retail sales was mainly due to the very cold weather, it could be only temporary. CQM forecasts tend to underestimate the economy in 2019Q1 due to the large decline in December retail sales while PCA forecasts adjusted its forecast downward from 2.5% to 1.7%. We should be neither too pessimistic nor too optimistic about the current economic condition.

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