U.S. third-quarter economic growth fastest in three years

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. economic system grew quicker than initially thought within the third quarter, notching its quickest tempo in three years, buoyed by strong enterprise spending on gear and an accumulation of inventories.

A Boeing employee is pictured within the wing system set up space at their manufacturing facility in Renton, Washington, U.S., February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Redmond

Gross home product expanded at a three.three p.c annual fee final quarter additionally boosted by a rebound in authorities funding, the Commerce Division stated in its second GDP estimate on Wednesday. That was the quickest tempo because the third quarter of 2014 and a pickup from the second quarter’s three.1 p.c fee.

The economic system was beforehand reported to have grown at a three.zero p.c tempo within the July-September interval. It was the primary time since 2014 that the economic system skilled progress of three p.c or extra for 2 straight quarters.

The expansion tempo, nonetheless, possible exaggerates the well being of the economic system as inventories, items but to be offered, accounted for almost 1 / 4 of GDP progress. Excluding stock funding, the economic system grew at a 2.5 p.c fee. When measured from the earnings facet, output additionally expanded at a 2.5 p.c fee.

“Whereas welcomed enchancment, the sustainability of progress has been reliant on pent-up demand and stockpiling of products after grossly depleting inventories,” stated Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Mounted Revenue in Chicago. Economists had anticipated that third-quarter GDP progress could be raised to a three.2 p.c fee. The brisk progress tempo strengthens the case for the Federal Reserve to boost rates of interest subsequent month. The U.S. central financial institution has elevated borrowing prices twice this yr.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen instructed lawmakers on Wednesday “the financial enlargement is more and more broad primarily based throughout sectors,” and that she anticipated that “the economic system will proceed to develop.”

Costs for U.S. Treasuries fell on the info and Yellen’s remarks. The greenback was little modified towards a basket of currencies, whereas shares have been combined.

The financial restoration because the 2007-2009 recession is now in its eighth yr and exhibiting little indicators of fatigue. The economic system is being powered by a tightening labor market, which has largely maintained a robust efficiency that began throughout former President Barack Obama’s first time period.

Economists see a modest enhance to progress from efforts by President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress to push by way of a broad bundle of tax cuts, together with slashing the company earnings tax fee to 20 p.c from 35 p.c.

Trump desires decrease taxes to elevate annual GDP progress to three p.c on a sustained foundation. The fiscal stimulus would, nonetheless, come when the economic system is at full employment.

“Company and private earnings tax cuts can have minimal impression on progress over the longer run,” stated Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Monetary in Pittsburgh. “In 2019 and past progress will settle in to its long-run common of two p.c to 2.25 p.c.”

CORPORATE PROFITS RISE

The federal government stated after-tax company income surged at a 5.eight p.c fee final quarter after rising at solely a zero.1 p.c tempo within the second quarter. Undistributed income jumped at a 13.9 p.c fee after declining for 2 straight quarters, suggesting that firms have been anticipating deep tax cuts.

Companies gathered inventories at a $39.zero billion tempo within the third quarter, as a substitute of the beforehand reported $35.eight billion fee. Because of this, stock funding contributed zero.eight proportion level to third-quarter GDP progress, up from the beforehand reported zero.73 proportion level.

That implies inventories may very well be a drag on progress within the fourth quarter. Information on Tuesday confirmed a drop in wholesale and retail inventories in October, main economists to slash their fourth-quarter GDP progress estimates by as a lot as five-tenths of a proportion level to as little as a 2.three p.c fee.

The Consumed Wednesday in its Beige E book report of anecdotal info on enterprise exercise collected from contacts nationwide described financial exercise as having “continued to extend at a modest to average tempo in October and mid-November.”

Progress in shopper spending, which accounts for greater than two-thirds of the U.S. economic system, was revised all the way down to a 2.three p.c fee within the third quarter from the beforehand reported 2.four p.c tempo. Client spending elevated at a sturdy three.three p.c fee within the second quarter.

The deceleration in shopper spending possible displays the impression of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which struck Texas and Florida in the course of the third quarter. Spending can also be being constrained by sluggish wage progress, which is forcing households to dip into their financial savings to fund purchases.

The federal government reduce its estimate for the rise in second-quarter wages and salaries by $26.5 billion. The saving fee decreased to three.three p.c within the third quarter from three.7 p.c within the April-June interval.

Economists say financial savings can’t drive shopper spending indefinitely. However in addition they imagine that earnings progress is being understated, pointing to a four.1 p.c unemployment fee in addition to robust enterprise funding.

Progress in enterprise funding in gear was raised to a 10.four p.c tempo, the quickest in three years, from the beforehand reported eight.6 p.c fee. Companies additionally elevated spending on software program.

However funding in nonresidential constructions fell at a 6.eight p.c tempo within the third quarter, the most important drop because the fourth quarter of 2015, as a substitute of the beforehand estimated 5.2 p.c fee. That’s largely due to a slowdown in spending on mining exploration, wells and shafts.

Progress in authorities spending was raised to a zero.four p.c fee. Authorities outlays have been beforehand reported to have declined at a zero.1 p.c tempo within the third quarter. Authorities spending had contracted for 2 consecutive quarters.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Modifying by Andrea Ricci

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.



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