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Households, trade boost US fourth-quarter growth to 3.2%

Published on Jan 30, 2014 10:09 PM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Robust household spending and rising exports kept the US economy on solid ground in the fourth quarter, but stagnant wages could chip away some of the momentum in early 2014.

Gross domestic product grew at a 3.2 per cent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Thursday, in line with expectations.

While that was a slowdown from the third-quarter's brisk 4.1 per cent pace, it was a far stronger performance than earlier anticipated and was welcome news in light of a 0.3 percentage point drag from October's partial government shutdown and a much smaller contribution to growth from a restocking by businesses.

Earlier in the quarter, many economists were anticipating a growth pace below 2 per cent given that an inventory surge accounted for much of the increase in the July-September period.

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