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Latest Commerce Figures Show Accelerating Economic Growth and Smaller Trade Gap

The latest economic figures released by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) indicate that real Gross Domestic Product increased 2.6% (annual rate) in the second quarter, in line with expectations. This represents an acceleration over the previous two quarters, each of which saw growth of below 2%. The bulk of last quarter's growth was due to personal consumption expenditures which contributed 1.9 percentage points to this increase, while private nonresidential fixed investment contributed 0.6 percentage points, on the strength of business' investment in industrial and information processing equipment. The past two quarters have been the strongest for business investment since 2014. The other components of GDP contributed little to last quarter's growth: net exports (0.2 points), and government consumption and investment (0.1), and change in private inventories (0.0 points). 

BEA also recently released revised GDP data for 2014 through the first quarter of 2017 as part of its regular annual update to incorporate more comprehensive source data and methodological improvements. Real GDP growth was revised up 0.2 percentage points to 2.7% for 2014 (annual average), up 0.1 percentage points to 2.0% for 2015, and down 0.2 percentage points to 1.8% for 2016.  From Q4 2013 to Q1 2017, the average growth rate was 2.1%, which is unchanged from the previous estimate for this period.

U.S. International Trade in Goods and ServicesOn the trade front, the U.S. Census Bureau and BEA reported that the goods and services deficit was $43.6 billion in June 2017, down $2.7 billion, or 5.9 percent, from $46.4 billion in May 2017. June exports were $194.4 billion, $2.4 billion more than May exports.  June imports were $238.0 billion, $0.4 billion less than May imports.

The June decrease in the goods and services deficit reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $2.1 billion to $65.2 billion and an increase in the services surplus of $0.6 billion to $21.6 billion.

As compared to June 2016, the goods and services deficit decreased $0.2 billion (0.4 percent) to $43.6 billion. Exports increased $10.6 billion (5.8 percent), and imports increased $10.4 billion (4.6 percent).

Source: Gross Domestic Product, 2nd quarter 2017 (advance estimate), and annual update, U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, June 2017

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