Is America getting ahead of itself?

Stronger-than-expected US GDP mostly reflected growing inventories. Manufacturers and retailers are stocking up but the figures suggest consumers aren't yet opening their wallets.

Real GDP in the United States was stronger than expected in the September quarter but the devil is in the detail. However, more timely data indicate that the labour market continues to improve ahead of tonight’s release of the November payrolls data for the US.

Real GDP in the US was revised up in the September quarter by 0.2 percentage points to 0.9 per cent. But the news is not completely positive – the upward revision almost entirely reflects inventory accumulation.

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