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US Economy Advances More Than Expected

VOA News


New reports show the U.S. economy is advancing at a faster pace than some analysts had predicted, but the country's central bank says it is not ready yet to trim its stimulus measures to boost growth.

The government Wednesday said the American economy grew by a 1.7 percent annual rate in the April-to-June period, compared to a newly calculated 1.1 percent pace over the first three months of the year.

The Federal Reserve described the country's expansion as modest. The second quarter growth was nearly twice what many economists had projected, with some saying it pointed to even more robust growth in the second half of the year.

After a two-day meeting in Washington, central bank policy makers said the Fed will continue its monthly $85 billion purchase of securities to pump more money into the economy, and keep its benchmark interest rate near zero.

Analyst Greg McBride of Bankrate.com said there is no urgency for the Fed to scale back its asset purchases.

"We still have a slow-growth economy with high unemployment and low inflation. As a result, there's really nothing urgent that's going to prompt the Fed to scale back their stimulus anytime soon," he said. "What they've done instead is adopt kind of a wait-and-see attitude with more of the same in the meantime."

The Fed's asset purchases have been aimed at spurring the economy and boosting job growth, but the central bank said previously that as the economy improves, it is looking to curtail the program later this year and end it by mid-2014.

The government said the second quarter advance was fueled by more consumer spending, a growth in exports and expanding corporate investment. That offset reduced federal government spending after Washington failed to agree on a new budget plan and automatic cuts took effect in March.

In another report, the government revised last year's U.S. economic performance upward, saying the country's overall output moved ahead by 2.8 percent, up from the 2.2 percent figure it earlier posted.

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