Merrill's Measure Of Charley: 'Minimal' GDP Impact

By John S. McClenahen Although the picture probably looks quite different to people still assessing the personal impact of Hurricane Charley, the storm promises to have a slight positive short-term effect of the U.S. economy. "We estimate it to nudge GDP growth up just 0.1% to 3.2% from 3.1% [on a year-on-year basis] through the third quarter of next year," says Merrill Lynch & Co., New York. "Retail sales, investment spending and construction [both residential and non-residential] should see a boost from the preparation for, and the rebuilding due to, Hurricane Charley," figures the securities firm. "Of course, these will all be net effects measured against the lost jobs and income from the storm as well."

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