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Economy may not have grown at all in first quarter

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Economists reduce Q1 GDP forecasts

It may turn out the economy did not grow at all in the first quarter.

Trade data released Tuesday show the U.S. deficit widened more than expected to $47.1 billion in February and was a bigger drag on growth than expected. It's the latest economic metric that chiseled away at the tracking model for first quarter growth.

The median of economists who participate in the CNBC/Moody's Analytics Rapid Update is now 0.5 percent for tracking GDP growth, down from 0.9 percent last week. Their average forecast for growth is 1.1 percent.

Given the average, and substantial, revisions to government GDP data, that 0.5 percent could easily turn into a negative number, or a much higher number. That is based on a CNBC study that examined every report going back to 1990 and found an average error rate of 1.3 percentage points in either direction.

Read MoreTrade deficit widens in February