Saturday, October 08, 2011

What Does GDP Growth Mean to You?

GDP stands for Gross Domestic Product. It represents the total value in the respective country currency of all goods and services produced over a specific time period. GDP is calculated will not be discuss here because that is kind of complicated. We will let those economist to do their job. What really important about GDP is, it help investor to tell how well a country is doing or how healthy is the economy.

GDP is usually expressed as a comparison to the previous GDP value in percentage. That is called “GDP Growth Rate”. It is either based on yearly or quarterly. For example 3% GDP growth rates in 2010 means the economy grows by 3% as compared to 2009. On the other hand, –3% GDP growth rates means the economy declines by 3%

What is recession?

When GDP growth rate is negative for 2 or more consecutive quarters, economist calls that as “Recession”. Let’s look at Malaysia GDP growth rate below, we’re having recession in the early of 2009.

(You can also get the GDP data for your country here) 

Now, let’s look at the KLCI index below. Do you see the similar trend with the GDP growth rate?

It basically tells you that when recession happens, stock market crashes. Usually significant change in GDP growth rate will affect on the stock market. Investor look at the GDP data very closely to understand the current economy situation and then react to their investment’


Given all these high-level explanation of GDP, what is your take away? For me,  I use the GDP growth rate as a recession detector. When recession happens (i.e. 2 consecutive negative GDP growth rate), I will quickly withdraw my investments and then watch out the GDP growth rate very closely when the economy will recovered. When it happens or when I think when it will happen (i.e. economy start to recover), I will start investing again. :)

P/S: For most updated Malaysia GDP report, you can refer to


Alvin Lim said...

mm nice tips. i actually don look at gdp because i don't know the relationship btw stock market n gdp. but now that you've discussed....makes more sense. haha. u know where can we find the gdp rate? is it a monthly / quarterly thing?

ChampDog said...

It is a quarterly thing. It is reported in the news paper every quarter or I think the following link should have the latest info. Check it out:

Alvin Lim said...

oo nice. thanks :D

Jobless Girl said...

Opps, the budget announce last week 2012 GDP seen up five-six per cent. Based on past GDP growth it is possible?????

ChampDog said...

I'm not sure. It seems to me, it is too optimistic given that US market doesn't look so good too and yet we are going to have >5% GDP growth? :)

Gold Fund ETF said...

Do we really care about GDP, unless and untill I am making money from my investment, I am more than happy, reallly never bothered too much GDP.I am owning Gold which surely is beating inflation rate.

ChampDog said...

I think it gives the macro perspective how the condition of the economy. Whether it has direct relationship with your investment? I do not know.

But for stock, as you can see it will be impacted especially if the GDP reported is bad or way beyond from the forecast GDP value.

For gold, probably yes because in fact people switch to invest in gold because of losing trust in our economy. Investors are moving away from currency. Thus, you don't see GDP has much impact towards Gold.

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