Saturday 24 March 2018

US growth hits six-year high despite rate revision

AMERICA'S economy has grown at its fastest pace in the past six years.

The US recorded growth of 5.6pc in the fourth quarter, down from a previous estimate of 5.9pc. It compares with growth of 2.2pc in the third quarter of last year, when the world's biggest economy was lifted out of four consecutive quarters of contraction.

However, the figures for the full year's GDP were unchanged, showing a 2.4pc decline, the biggest 12-month fall since the 10.9pc recorded in 1946.

The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected positive contributions from private inventory investment, exports, personal consumption and non-residential fixed investment.

The downward revision in the quarterly figures was driven by a decline in business investment and inventories. Consumer spending was also less buoyant than originally thought.

If the US consumer is cautious, demand is accelerating elsewhere: the World Trade Organisation is expecting global trade in goods to expand by 9.5pc this year. Most of the gain will be from emerging market countries, such as China, India and Brazil, where exports are expected to increase by 11pc.

Separately, the US housing market took another hit. Data showed sales of new homes fell for the fourth straight month in February to a record low.

Irish Independent

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