US growth rate hits three-year low at 0.7%

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WASHINGTON: US growth slowed to its lowest level in three years in the first quarter as consumer spending and government expenditures tumbled to their lowest levels in years, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.

Early data showed gross domestic product (GDP) increased only 0.7 per cent in the first three months of the year, down from the 2.1 per cent expansion seen in the fourth quarter of last year.

Though only slightly below the 0.8 per cent increase in the same quarter of last year, the pace fell well below analyst expectations for 1.1 per cent.

It also marked a sombre start to the presidency of Mr Donald Trump, who hits his first 100 days in office today and rose to power on a message of nationalist economic revival.

He has taken credit for recent increased consumer confidence, growing employment and record gains on the stock market.

Mr Trump is also basing planned multi-trillion-dollar tax cuts on an anticipated return to 3 per cent annual growth, which the White House says will generate the revenue needed to pay for the tax cuts. - AFP

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