Apple expected to pull US economy out of ruin

In the middle of the presidential campaign where two sides are claiming to have the answers to the US’s economic woes, analyst outfit J.P. Morgan is putting its money on Apple to save the US.

According to Reuters, J.P. Morgan’s chief economist, Michael Feroli told clients he expects that the the next generation iPhone 5, which Apple will announce today, would give a significant boost to the overall US economy.

He claims that the new iPhone could add between a quarter and a half percentage point to fourth quarter annualised growth in the US.

Basically this would help pull the US out of any depression as the annualised GDP growth could grow by $3.2 billion, or $12.8 billion at an annual rate.

The numbers are based on Apple selling around 8 million iPhone 5s in the fourth quarter for about $600. This means that the government can factor in $400 per phone into its measure of gross domestic product for the fourth quarter.

Feroli admits that the economic impact of the iPhone 5 “seems fairly large, and for that reason should be treated skeptically”. But, he added, “we think the recent evidence is consistent with this projection”.

It is based on the idea that when the last iPhone was launched in October 2011, sales significantly outperformed expectations. This was mostly because it was the same phone as the early model with a broken voice activated search. No one thought anyone would be dumb enough to buy that.

The iPhone 5 launch is expected to be much larger, and Feroli wrote that he thinks the estimate mentioned is reasonable.

Of course, this is the same JP Morgan which in April took huge $2 billion trading losses at its London branch, Trader Bruno Iksil, nicknamed the London Whale, and which made a few dodgy investments as part of the company’s “hedging” strategy.

Feroli does seem to suggest that if the US wants to get itself out of a recession its citizens should buy an iPhone. While this might improve the GDP figures it would be hard to see how adding to Apple’s cash pile and the bottom line of lots Chinese and Taiwanese suppliers would actually help the US economy.