The first estimate of 2010’s fourth-quarter GDP for the U.S. arrives on Friday and the consensus forecast is expecting the Bureau of Economic Analysis will report a 3.7% real annualized increase. Assuming the guess is accurate, that would be a robust acceleration from the 2.6% rate posted for last year’s Q3. A 3.7% gain for Q4:2010 would also be the best pace since last year’s first quarter, which coincidentally logged a 3.7% increase.

The optimism may look excessive to some, but the IMF is thinking positively these days too, if only marginally. The International Monetary Fund’s new forecast of world economic growth released yesterday sees global GDP higher by 4.4% this year, up slightly from a 4.2% prediction last October. A fair amount of the improvement comes from the IMF’s upgraded outlook for U.S. GDP for 2011: 3.0% growth, which is comfortably higher than the 2.3% gain the IMF expected previously.
The upward revision for world GDP “reflects stronger-than expected activity in the second half of 2010 as well as new policy initiatives in the United States that will boost activity this year,” the IMF advises.
Earlier this month, The Beta Investment Report reviewed recent forecasts of U.S. GDP estimates for 2011. The guesses ranged from 1.8% to 4.0%, as detailed in the table below.
Update: The original version of this post erroneously cited Q3:2010 GDP growth at 2.7%. In fact, GDP rose 2.6% in Q3.