U.S. GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2022 came in higher than expectations, although fears of recession remain.
While this represents a drop from 3.2% in the third quarter, it is higher than expectations of 2.6%. However, over the year as a whole, GDP grew a mere 1%, down sharply from 5.7% growth in 2021.
Markets reacted favorably in anticipation of the favorable estimate, with futures contracts on the S&P 500-stock index rising 0.5%. Sensitive to changes in economic growth, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note ended up rising back above 3.5%.
News of a robust U.S. economy bolstered the U.S. dollar somewhat against a basket of other currencies representing America’s major trading partners.
Crypto markets also rose slightly following the release of the data, although perhaps incidentally, considering the extent to which they did. A half hour after the announcement, Bitcoin was up 0.2% and Ethereum 0.24%. Total cryptocurrency market capitalization is up 3.1% in the past day to $1.09 trillion.
As mentioned, solid fourth quarter figures had been widely anticipated, reinforcing the perspective that the economy has persevered despite rising inflation and interest rates.
Although economic output had contracted in the first half of the year, stoking fears of a recession, growth then rebounded. A robust labor market and cooling inflation enabled Americans to continue spending, in spite of inflation fears.
But while the job market remains strong, business sentiment continues to sour, which could eventually hurt hiring. Economists expect the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes last year to cause a mild recession this year.
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