US Q1 GDP growth rate slows to 2.3pc

GROSS domestic product (GDP) in the US grew at an annual rate of 2.3 per cent in the first quarter, according to the nation's Department of Commerce.

The first-quarter growth rate was down from the 2.9 per cent annual rate seen in the fourth quarter of 2017 and the slowest since the first quarter of 2017, reported American Shipper.

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) said the deceleration in GDP growth in the first quarter reflected decreases in personal consumption expenditures, residential fixed investment, exports and state and local government spending. Those factors were offset in part by an increase in private inventory investment as well as a deceleration in imports.

Real exports of goods and services grew 4.8 per cent in the first quarter, according to BEA, compared with a seven per cent increase in the fourth quarter of 2017. Imports grew just 2.6 per cent, compared with a 14.1 per cent jump the previous quarter.

However, data from Commerce Department indicates new orders for durable goods continued to grow in March, rising 2.6 per cent to US$254.9 billion, following a revised 3.5 per cent decrease in February.

Commerce's Census Bureau highlighted that transportation equipment, up for the sixth time in eight straight months, fuelled the increase in durable goods orders, expanding 7.6 per cent to $91.4 billion for the month.