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U.S. Q4 GDP beats forecasts

Staff Writer |
America's economy grew at a slightly faster pace than had been thought at the end of 2016, as estimates of household spending were revised higher but were offset by a much slower pace of business investment.

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Gross domestic product expanded at an annualised pace of 2.1% year-on-year during the final quarter of 2016, according to a second set of revisions from the Department of Commerce, versus a previously estimated rate of growth of 1.9%.

Markets had anticipated a reading of 2.0%. In the third quarter of 2016 GDP expanded at a 3.5% clip.

Corporate after tax profits - the key bit of new data contained in Thursday's report - advanced at an annual rate of 2.3% in the fourth quarter, down from 6.7% over the prior three months.

The rate of growth in household consumption was revised higher to show an annualised pace of growth of 3.5%, up from the 3.0% previously calculated.

A faster pace of inventory accumulation also contributed to growth, with Commerce now estimating that it added 1.04 percentage points to the quarterly annualised rate of GDP growth, up from 0.94 points previously.

However, the pace of business fixed investment - perhaps the most important component of GDP - was revised down to show a rise of 2.9%, which was lower than the prior estimate of 3.2%.

The PCE price index rose by 1.3%, compared with an increase of 1.7% for the previous three months.