US Economy Grew at a Robust 4.2 Percent Rate During 2nd Quarter

(CN) — The U.S. economy grew at a robust annual rate of 4.2 percent in the second quarter, the best performance in nearly four years, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

However, economists attribute much of the growth to a temporary rush to ship a wide range of U.S. exports out before penalty tariffs triggered by President Donald Trump’s get-tough trade policies took effect.

As a result, forecasts suggest the rate of growth has slowed during the third quarter and will likely be at between 3 percent and 3,5 percent when numbers for the current quarter are released later this year.

Nevertheless, Trump was ecstatic about the then-pending GDP report when he addressed reporters at the United Nations on Wednesday.

“We’re doing much better than anybody thought possible,” he said.

If the numbers for the rest of the year do come in at 3 percent or higher, it would be the best performance by the economy since 2005.

The country is currently in the 10th year of an economic expansion, the second longest in history. But growth has averaged a lackluster 2.2 percent, making this the weakest recovery in the post-World War II period.

The GDP report comes a day after the Federal Reserve pushed its key policy rate up for an eighth time, to a new range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell also announced the central bank plans to stick with its plan to raise rates one more time this year and another three times in 2019.

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