U.S. fourth-quarter growth revised up to 3.1 pct

WASHINGTON, March 25 (Reuters) – The U.S. economy grew more quickly than previously estimated in the fourth quarter as businesses maintained fairly solid spending and restocked shelves t
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Gross domestic product growth was revised up to an annualized rate of 3.1 percent, the Commerce Department said in its final estimate, close to its initial estimate of 3.2 percent publish
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Economists had expected GDP growth, which measures total goods and services output within U.S. borders, to be revised up to a 3.0 percent pace. The economy expanded at a 2.6 percent rate
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Data so far suggest the economy maintained this growth pace in the first quarter, but there are concerns that rising oil prices could crimp consumer spending and slow the economic recover
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The pick-up in growth has been acknowledged by the Federal Reserve, which injected massive amounts of money into the economy to stimulate demand. The U.S. central bank is expected to conc
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The government raised fourth-quarter growth estimates to reflect stronger business spending and inventory accumulation than previously forecast.

Business investment rose at a 7.7 percent rate instead of 5.3 percent, lifted by spending on equipment and software, as well as on structures. Spending grew at a 10.0 percent pace in the
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Spending on software and equipment increased at a 7.7 percent rate instead of 5.5 percent. Investment in structures rose at a solid 7.6 percent, the first increase since the second quarter
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Business inventories increased $16.2 billion instead of the $7.1 billion estimated last month, subtracting a smaller 3.42 percentage points from GDP growth rather than the previously repo
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Excluding inventories, the economy expanded at an unrevised 6.7 percent pace, the fastest increase in domestic and foreign demand since 1998. Domestic purchases grew at a 3.2 percent rate
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Consumer spending — which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity — grew at a 4.0 percent rate in the final three months of 2010 instead of 4.1 percent. It was still
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The growth in exports was not as strong as previously estimated, while imports were revised a touch down. Trade added 3.27 percentage points to GDP growth instead of 3.35 percentage points
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Government spending contracted at a 1.7 percent rate rather than 1.5 percent, due to weak state and local government outlays.

The GDP report confirmed a pick-up in inflation pressures on surging food and gasoline prices. The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index rose at a revised 1.7 percent rate in the fo
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But a “core” price index closely watched by the Fed advanced at a revised 0.4 percent rate instead of 0.5 percent. The increase was the smallest rise on record.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani, Editing by Andrea Ricci)

U.S. fourth-quarter growth revised up to 3.1 pct