U.S. records 2.3% GDP growth in third quarter

President Obama-hiphopwired

President Obama-hiphopwired

The U.S. economy grew at a healthier clip in the third quarter than initially thought, but strong inventory accumulation by businesses could temper expectations of an acceleration in growth in the final three months of the year.

The Commerce Department, on Tuesday, said the nation’s gross domestic product grew at a 2.1 per cent yearly pace, against the 1.5 per cent rate it reported last month, as businesses reduced an inventory bloat less aggressively than previously believed.

The pace of economic growth, which was also boosted by upward revisions to business spending on equipment, suggests a resilience that could help give the Federal Reserve confidence to raise interest rates next month.

While consumer spending was revised down a bit, its pace remained brisk, suggesting consumers were cash-flush.

“The economy continues to move along at a good clip relative to its potential. With growth like this, the Fed has the data it needs to light the candle finally and lift off on December 16,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York.

When measured from the income side, the economy grew at a sturdy 3.1 per cent clip, the fastest in a year and an acceleration from the second quarter’s upwardly 2.2 per cent pace. Wages and salaries increased $109.3 billion, $61.6 billion more than initially estimated.

The third-quarter’s respectable expansion should set up the economy to achieve at least two per cent growth in the second half of the year, around its long-run potential. In the wake of robust job growth in October and strong domestic demand, the Fed is expected to raise rates at its Dec. 15 to 16 policy meeting.

Other data on Tuesday showed consumer confidence fell further in November, hitting a 14-month low, as sentiment towards the labor market surprisingly soured. Economists suspected the November 13 attacks in Paris and rising tensions in the Middle East had weighed on consumer confidence.

Despite the drop, more consumers say they plan to buy homes, automobiles and other big-ticket items over the next six months.

“The bigger picture suggests that domestic demand is still firm, spending plans are evolving positively and the housing market continues to post gains,” said Robert Kavcic, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto.

A third report showed house prices rose solidly in August.

U.S. financial markers were little moved by the data as investors worried about global security after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane.

In the third quarter, businesses accumulated $90.2 billion worth of inventories, instead of the $56.8 billion reported last month. That followed more than $100 billion worth of inventories accumulated in each of the prior two quarters.

As a result, the change in inventories chopped off only 0.59 percentage point from third-quarter GDP growth, rather than the 1.44 percentage points the government reported in October.

That, however, suggests inventories could be a drag on fourth-quarter growth.



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