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U.S. economic report shows dramatic growth in second quarter

The U.S. gross domestic product grew by a strong 4.1 percent annual rate in the second quarter of 2018, a Commerce Department report said Friday.

While the quarterly report is preliminary and based on data certain to be revised, the data show the U.S. economy grew at the quickest pace in four years. Final second quarter figures will be issued late next month.

A rebound in consumer spending and the stockpiling of exports, notably soybeans in anticipation of a worsening trade dispute with China, were contributors to the increase.

Some economists had projected second quarter growth of 4.2 percent. The preliminary figure is a dramatic rise over 2.2 percent growth in the first quarter.

President Donald Trump responded to the news on Friday with a post on Twitter, citing "Great GDP numbers." At a news conference later Friday morning, Trump noted an increase of 400,000 new manufacturing jobs and the opening of seven new steel plants in the United States.

"We're going to go a lot higher than these numbers, and these are great numbers," Trump said, later adding that "the tariffs did it," a reference to his order to increase the costs of imported steel and aluminum.

The government's quarterly GDP estimate is a broad measure of goods and services produced in the United States and is a primary gauge of overall economic health.

A strong growth estimate was expected after Trump hinted of a positive report Thursday.

"Somebody actually predicted today 5.3 [percent growth]," Trump told supporters during a visit to an Illinois steel plant on Thursday. "If it has a 4 in front of it, we're happy. If it has like a 3 -- but it's a 3.8, 3.9, 3.7 -- we're OK."

"These are unthinkable numbers," he added. "If I would have used these numbers during the campaign, the [news media] back there would've said he's exaggerating."

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow also indicated a strong report was coming.

"You're going to get a very good economic growth number tomorrow. Big," he said.

The anticipated news comes after Trump announced on Wednesday the United States and European Union will work together to avert tariffs and a potential trade war. It also spurred a rise in pre-trading stock prices.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 22 points before trading Friday, suggesting a 43 point rise when trading begins. The optimism came after President Donald Trump indicated Thursday the Commerce Department's second-quarter GDP report Friday will be positive.

Nasdaq and Standard & Poor's 500 readings were also upbeat, CNBC reported.By Ed Adamczyk

https://www.geezgo.com/sps/32451

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