CBO Boosts Economic Growth Forecast, Sees 1 Trillion Deficit

29 Jan    Investing News

Bloomberg – Stronger-than-expected U.S. economic growth that’s pushed the jobless rate to a five-decade low will contribute to an uptick in inflation this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

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The CBO, in its budget and economic outlook through 2030, expects gross domestic product to rise 2.2% this year, up 0.1 percentage point from its August estimate. A measure of prices excluding food and energy is projected to increase 2.2%, just above the Federal Reserve’s goal. At the same time, the U.S. budget deficit will exceed $1 trillion in the fiscal year that ends in September, similar to the agency’s previous forecast.

“We also project that for several years, the economy will be producing more than what we estimate to be its sustainable level of output, leading to higher inflation and interest rates after a decade in which both remained low,” Phillip Swagel, director of the nonpartisan agency, said in a statement accompanying the annual long-term forecast.

The data come in an election year, and as President Donald Trump frequently touts his economic record. The economy is now in its 11th year of expansion, a record for the country, while the job market remains relatively tight and consumers upbeat.

Meanwhile, the U.S. budget gap will continue to expand at a pace faster than the economy will grow, primarily reflecting increased mandatory spending as the nation’s population ages. A shortfall this year that tops the $1 trillion mark would be the first since 2012, after the government sharply boosted spending to emerge from the financial crisis.

The deficit as a share of GDP will expand to 5.4% in 2030, compared with an estimated 4.6% this year, the CBO says. Financing the shortfall will require more government debt issuance, and the CBO sees debt held by the public reaching 98.3% as a share of GDP by 2030.

The CBO forecasts the yield on the 10-year Treasury note will average 1.9% this year and 2.2% in 2021. CBO also expects the Fed to keep its benchmark rate unchanged through late 2021.

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