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US Q3 GDP growth confirmed at 2.1%

The U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.1% in the third quarter, compared with a 2% acceleration recorded in the second quarter, the third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed.

The latest print matched both the prior projection by the bureau and the Econoday consensus forecast for the third quarter.

The quarter-over-quarter acceleration in real GDP reflected a smaller decrease in private inventory investment and upturns in exports and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by decelerations in personal consumption expenditures, federal government spending, and state and local government spending, and a larger decrease in nonresidential fixed investment.

Earlier in December, flash data from IHS Markit showed that private-sector business activity growth reached a five-month high in December on the back of improved manufacturing conditions and service sector growth. This was indicative of a GDP expansion of 2.2% in 2020 as the U.S. economy continues to regain growth momentum, IHS Markit Chief Business Economist Chris Williamson had said.

On Dec. 3, S&P Global Ratings maintained its GDP growth projection for 2019 at 2.3% and raised its forecast for 2020 to 1.9% from 1.7% in its September outlook. In addition, the rating agency cut its year-ahead U.S. recession risk forecast by 5 percentage points to a range of 25% to 30%.

The Federal Reserve was unanimous in its decision to hold its target for the federal funds rate steady at its December meeting, which followed three rate cuts in 2019. In separate appearances, two Federal Reserve regional bank presidents gave reassuring assessments of the strength of the economy and reinforced the view that the central bank is unlikely to change interest rate policy anytime soon.

The next release, containing the advance estimate for the fourth quarter and full year 2019, is due Jan. 30, 2020, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said.