One glimpse at the following chart and it’s clear that the US economy has not reached the much-vaunted “escape velocity.” As CNBC’s Rick Santelli explains in this succinct summary of the quandary of GDP hopes, inventory-build fears, and extrapolation-dreams, “many of these programs, procedures, and plans offered by the Fed – or the government – actually work to jump-start the economy… but they can’t reach sustainability.” His simple analogy of the economy as a heart-rate in a chronically sick (if not dead) person and Fed juice as a defibrillator seems very fitting. As the chart below shows, the US economy is very much still on life-support.
“What’s the real issue with inventories? The issue is when you build widgets, that figures into GDP – but the real question is, the drawdown of that inventory… How aggressively does it get consumed?
So, if you look at 2013 in its entirety and break it up mid-year, the inventory build at the end of the year was close to 2 1/2 to 3 times as large as the inventory build in the first half of the year.