US GDP growth posts a 2-year high of 3.5% in July-Sept quarter

22 December 2016

The US economy grew at faster clip of 3.5 per cent in the third quarter (July-September 2016), the fastest in two years, amid solid consumer spending and a jump in soybean exports.

GDP increased at a 3.5 per cent annual rate, the Commerce Department said in its third GDP estimate released on Thursday.

Preliminary estimates issued in November had projected third quarter 2016 real gross domestic product (GDP) growth at an annual rate of 3.2 per cent, based on the second estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

In the second quarter, real GDP had increased 1.4 per cent. GDP growth in the July-September 2016 quarter was the strongest since the third quarter of 2014.

Output was also lifted by upward revisions to business investment in structures and intellectual property products, underscoring the economy's solid fundamentals, which contributed to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates last week.

When measured from the income side, the economy grew at 4.8 per cent, instead of the previously reported 5.2 per cent. That was the fastest pace of increase in gross domestic income since the second quarter of 2014 and followed a 0.7 per cent rate of increase in the second quarter.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US. economic activity, increased at a 3.0 per cent rate in the third quarter and not the 2.8 per cent pace reported last month. That was still a slowdown from the second quarter's robust 4.3 per cent growth.

Spending on non-residential structures, which include oil and gas wells, increased at 12.0 per cent, the fastest pace since the first quarter of 2014. Non-residential outlays were previously reported to have increased at a 10.1 per  cent.

US exports were estimated to have grown at 10.0 per cent, marginally lower than the previously reported 10.1 per cent. Still it was the fastest pace in export growth since the fourth quarter of 2013.

The spike in exports largely reflected a surge in soybean exports after a poor soy harvest in Argentina and Brazil.

US stock index futures were little changed in light trading on Thursday ahead of a host of economic data.

Global investors' holdings of US equity stocks rose to six-month highs in December on bets that US President-elect Donald Trump's promised fiscal splurge would spur higher growth and inflation.

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