US Q4 economic growth figures revised upwards
The Commerce Department today revealed that the world’s no.1 economy grew at a faster rate in the fourth quarter than previous estimates showed.
According to official figures, the US economy grew by an annual 5.9% between the October and December period, rather than the 5.7% previously estimated.
For the whole of 2009, GDP declined at an unrevised 2.4% – this represented the largest full-year contraction since the 10.9% fall after the Second World War.
The figures come on the same day that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the UK economy grew by 0.3% in the October to December period – slightly higher than the 0.1% estimated last month.
However, the revised UK figures still leave an annual fall of 3.3% – a slightly larger fall than earlier estimated as a result of downward revisions to previous data.
Today’s revisions from the Commerce Department and the ONS are the second of three estimates of GDP for the fourth quarter. The third and final estimates will be published next month.
In related US news this week, official figures revealed a fall in sales of new homes in the US for the month of January – the third consecutive month that sales have fallen.
According to the Commerce Department, new single-family home sales dived by 11.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 306,000 units – the lowest since records commenced in 1963.
The fall was attributed to a traditionally slow month in sales and the severe wintry weather that gripped much of the US during January.
Meanwhile, US consumer confidence took a dive in February after the closely-monitored Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board fell to a 10-month low of 46, down from a revised 56.5 in January.
The index still remains far away from the 90 points required to show that the world’s largest economy is on solid footing.
Furthermore, the reading is still below the reading of 61.4 recorded in September 2008 – at the height of the global financial crisis. Since the index commenced in 1967, the average reading has been 95.6.