US Economic Growth Revised Down To 3.4% In July-September


The economy grew at a 4.2 per cent pace in the April-June quarter.


The US economy slowed in the third quarter a bit more than previously estimated, but the pace was likely strong enough to keep growth on track to hit the Trump administration’s 3 per cent target this year, even as momentum appears to have moderated further early in the fourth quarter.

Gross domestic product increased at a 3.4 per cent annualised rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday in its third reading of third-quarter GDP growth. That was slightly down from the 3.5 per cent pace estimated in October and well above the economy’s growth potential, which economists estimate to be about 2 per cent.

The revisions to the third-quarter GDP reading reflected markdowns to consumer spending and exports. Inventory accumulation was, however, much bigger than previously estimated. There were downward revisions to business spending on equipment and nonresidential structures, as well as residential investment.

The economy grew at a 4.2 per cent pace in the April-June quarter.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates on Wednesday for the fourth time this year, but forecast fewer rate hikes next year and signaled its tightening cycle is nearing an end in the face of financial market volatility and slowing global growth.

The US central bank slightly lowered its growth projections for 2019.

Growth is being driven by the Trump administration’s $1.5 trillion tax cut package, which has given consumer spending a jolt. The fiscal stimulus is part of measures adopted by the White House to boost annual growth to 3 per cent on a sustainable basis.

But the economy appears to be slowing in the fourth quarter amid a widening trade deficit, sluggish business spending on equipment and a weak housing market.

The slowdown in growth is expected to spill over into 2019 as the fiscal stimulus fades and a bitter trade war with China and strong dollar undercut manufacturing. Growth estimates for the fourth quarter are around a 2.9 per cent pace.

An alternative measure of economic growth, gross domestic income (GDI), increased at a rate of 4.3 per cent in the third quarter, instead of the 4.0 per cent pace reported last month.

The average of GDP and GDI, also referred to as gross domestic output and considered a better measure of economic activity, increased at an unrevised a 3.8 per cent rate in the July-September period.

After-tax corporate profits were revised up to show them rising at a 3.5 per cent rate in the third quarter instead of the previously estimated 3.3 per cent rate. Corporate profits rose at a 2.1 per cent pace in the April-June period.

Inventories increased at an $89.8 billion rate, instead of the $86.6 billion rate estimated in November. Inventory investment added 2.33 percentage points to GDP growth. That was more than the 2.27 percentage points reported last month and was the biggest contribution since the fourth quarter of 2011.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, increased at a 3.5 per cent rate in the third quarter, slightly down from the 3.6 per cent rate estimated in November.

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