The advance fourth-quarter real gross domestic product declined 3.8%, the worst showing since a 6.4% drop in the first quarter of 1982, but nonetheless came in above expectations that centered on a 5% slide.

First-quarter data so far suggest continued contraction. Even nominal GDP fell in the period. It marks a second drop in GDP after a 0.5% slip in the third quarter — the classic definition of recession. The last time there were two consecutive negative growth quarters was the fourth quarter of 1990 and the first quarter of 1991.

Core personal consumption expenditures printed up 0.6%, a low since 1962. The overall GDP price index was down 0.1% as oil prices fell; the last time it was worse was  a 0.2% dip in third quarter of 1954.

— Market News International

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