Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Doubles or triples all round?
Posted by David Smith at 12:30 PM
Category: Thoughts and responses

Today's second revision to gross domestic product in the final quarter of 2012 left the quarterly change unchanged at a fall of 0.3%. Consumer spending was revised up, to show an increase of 0.4%, from 0.2%, but overall investment fell by 0.2% and the deficit on net trade rose to 6 billion, from 5.3 billion in the third quarter.

As always, there is interest in the revisions. Most people are aware that GDP figures get revised over time, though there are always one or two "revision deniers" around. The latest revisions show that the double-dip recession at the end of 2011 and into 2012 is now close to being revised away. A year ago we had GDP falls of 0.3% in the final quarter of 2011 and 0.2% in the first quarter of 2012. Now they are each 0.1% and the small fall in the first quarter of 2012 is very close to being revised to zero - it already has been for GDP excluding North Sea oil and gas.

None of this changes the fact that growth is disappointing, or that the economy is failing to rebalance. The current account deficit widened alarmingly last year to 57.7 billion, from 20.2 billion in 2011. The fourth quarter deficit was 14 billion, 3.6% of GDP, slightly down from 15 billion in the third quarter.

The GDP figures are here, the balance of payments data here.