The chief economist of FedEx Corp., who is considered one of the nation's most influential economic forecasters, has lowered his estimate for U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2011 but has raised his forecast for the nation's industrial production for the year.
Gene Huang reduced his 2011 GDP estimate to 2.7 percent from 2.9 percent, citing weak growth in the first quarter of the year and the impact of rising oil prices. However, Huang increased his forecast for growth in industrial production to 5.2 percent from 4.9 percent based on strength in manufacturing and continued inventory restocking activity.
Huang, whose commentary is widely respected because FedEx is considered a proxy for the global economy, rarely makes public comments concerning his forecasts. Though it is unclear where Huang made his remarks, a FedEx spokesman confirmed them.
The economist foresees better-than-expected export growth from Europe, with Germany leading the way. Global GDP is forecast to grow 3.3 percent, on average, from 2010 to 2015. International trade, most important to companies like FedEx that are tasked with carrying it, is expected to grow at a rate as much as 2.5 times that of global GDP during that span, according to Huang.