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US economic growth slows to 2.2% rate in fourth quarter
[WASHINGTON] The US economy expanded more slowly than thought in the fourth quarter of 2014, pressured by a smaller rise in inventories and a larger increase in imports, revised data showed on Friday.
The Commerce Department said gross domestic product grew 2.2 per cent in the final quarter last year, revising lower its previous 2.6 per cent estimate.
The downward revision on GDP expansion was slightly better than expectations of a 2.1 per cent gain after the third quarter's robust 5.0 per cent pace.
According to newly available economic data, the modest fourth-quarter growth mainly reflected a smaller increase in inventory investment and a higher level of imports, which subtract from GDP, the department said.
Despite falling energy prices that could boost consumer spending, the weakness of the global economy and the dollar's strength weighed on the country's trade balance. Exports rose only 3.2 per cent in the fourth quarter, after a 4.5 per cent gain in the third and an 11.1 per cent jump in the second.
Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 per cent of US economic activity, was the main driver of growth, rising 4.2 per cent, a four-year high. The spending contributed about 2.8 percentage points to fourth-quarter growth, the largest share in nearly 10 years.