US economic growth slows



The American economy cooled in the second quarter of 2019 to a still-solid pace, government data showed Friday, while officials also slashed an economic figure prized by President Donald Trump. Newly revised data covering the past five years now show the world’s largest economy actually slowed in the year after Trump and congressional Republicans pushed through a sweeping, $1.5 trillion tax cut. The change dealt a sharp blow to Trump’s economic message and also highlighted how momentum had deteriorated in the final months of 2018 when the Federal Reserve last raised interest rates in defiance of intense pressure from Trump. The central bank next week is widely expected to cut its benchmark lending rate, reversing December’s increase. The Commerce Department reported that gross domestic product in the April-June quarter slowed to 2.1 percent from the first three months of the year, down sharply from 3.1 percent growth in the first quarter, but that was better than expected, helped by strong consumer spending. Taken together the new data portrayed an economy that enjoys robust strength in some quarters but has begun to sputter worryingly in others, even while the US is outshining sluggish economies in Europe, Japan and elsewhere. Analysts had expected second quarter growth of just 1.8 percent, but the economy got a boost from strong spending on autos, food and clothing. “Not bad,” Trump tweeted Friday, “considering that we have the very heavy weight of the Federal Reserve anchor wrapped around our neck.”

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