Final estimate puts GDP in third quarter up 4.1 percent

Dec. 20, 2013 at 9:06 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the third quarter of the year, the Commerce Department said Friday.

The gain is the fastest quarterly increase since 2011 and is an upward revision from the 3.6 percent estimate released Dec. 5.

The Commerce Department said consumer spending in the quarter rose at a rate of 2 percent, up from the previous estimate for spending of 1.4 percent.

The new figure could move equity markets higher, as economists had predicted the final estimate would match the previous one. Markets generally adjust to fit the forecast and react if the released figure is different from the predicted one.

Monetary policy could also be affected. U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that the central bank expected GDP growth for 2013 would be 2.2 percent or 2.3 percent.

On Wednesday, the Fed announced it would begin to taper its $85 billion per month quantitative easing program, dropping purchases to $75 billion per month starting in January.

If the prevailing view on Wall Street is that a higher-than-expected growth rate for the GDP could push the Fed to accelerating the tapering process, stocks could move lower Friday.

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