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US Q1 growth revised up to 1.4%
[WASHINGTON] The US economy grew slightly faster than originally reported in the first three months of the year, as consumer spending and exports were stronger, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
But the revised figures kept growth in President Donald Trump's first quarter at a comparatively sluggish 1.4 per cent, two-tenths higher than the revised estimate reported last month.
Based on a fuller set of data, the slightly rosier new figures surpassed the consensus forecast, but the growth pace still showed a steep slowdown from the final three months of 2016, when the world's largest economy expanded by 2.1 per cent.
Even so, economists say first quarters in recent years have seen below-average growth, and they expect a rebound in the second quarter to more than two percent.
On the campaign trail, Mr Trump pledged to return to the United States to four percent annual growth, though his administration now is targeting three percent growth and is banking on the acceleration to pay for sweeping tax cuts.
Critics, however, say such rapid growth is unrealistic and any deep tax cuts, if approved by Congress, are unlikely to pay for themselves.
Though consumer spending was held down by several factors - including a drop in spending on home heating during an unusually warm winter and falling mobile phone plan prices - the new estimate showed a rebound, revising the increase up a half point to 1.1 per cent.
Sales of big-ticket manufactured items also were a little stronger while goods exports were revised up sharply, adding 2.1 points to 10.5 per cent over the final quarter of 2016.
Investments by businesses remained at five-year-record levels but waned slightly in the new numbers, with spending on buildings cut one point to 10.4 per cent over the prior three months.
Household spending on services was likewise a little stronger, with healthcare, financial services and insurance all up about two-tenths over last month's estimate.