US growth revised higher to 2.1% in third quarter

GDP increased at a 2.1% annualized rate

The U.S. economy grew more quickly than expected in the three months through September, according to new figures published by the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

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Gross domestic product increased at a 2.1 percent annualized rate, the government said in its second reading of third-quarter GDP. That was higher than its original estimate of 1.9 percent last month; analysts surveyed by Refinitiv also expected the measure to remain unrevised from the preliminary reading.

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The upward revision was largely the result of stronger inventory and business investment.

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At the beginning of the year, the U.S. economy grew at a torrid 3.1 percent rate, but has weakened substantially over the year -- largely a result of the U.S.-China trade war.

“The trade conflict with China represents the main risk to U.S. growth,” said Agathe Demarais, global forecasting director at the Economist Intelligence Unit. And if the world’s two largest economies fail to sign a phase one trade deal by mid-December, suspending billions of dollars in planned tariffs, “growth would decelerate more sharply than we currently expect.”

Still, the holiday shopping season, which is expected to be relatively healthy thanks to solid job growth and strong consumer spending, could boost economic growth.

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