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US revises growth up a notch for second quarter

[WASHINGTON] The US economy grew marginally faster in the second quarter than first reported, with bumps in estimated air travel, retail and spending on farm inventories, official figures showed Thursday.

The new Commerce Department report for the April-June period pushed US economic growth above President Donald Trump's three percent target.

The world's largest economy grew at an annual rate of 3.1 per cent in the second quarter, up a tenth of a percentage point from the estimate published last month, which was already the fastest growth in more than two years.

Based on newly available agricultural and Census Bureau data, the revision surprised analysts, who had not been expecting any change.

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President Trump and congressional Republicans this week unveiled plans for broad-based tax cuts as part of ambitious efforts, along with trade negotiations and slashed regulations, to boost annual growth to three per cent.

Mr Trump has also hailed recent job creation and growth figures, even though his administration has yet to enact any major new fiscal or tax policies.

Still, the new second quarter figures bring growth in the first half of 2017 to 2.2 per cent - broadly in line with US economic expansion in recent years but well below the three per cent target, which many economists say may be unrealistic.

The upward revision to the second quarter partly reflected increased estimates of spending by state and local governments as well as newly reported spending by farms and consumer spending on services.

However, sluggish and declining housing sales weighed on the overall result, with home buying slowing by 7.3 per cent, 0.8 points below the first estimate - the steepest decline for this measure in nearly seven years.

AFP