US economy grew 2.6% in fourth quarter

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US economy grew 2.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, expanding more strongly than previously thought, the government said on Thursday.

The Commerce Department revised higher its prior 2.4 per cent estimate of gross domestic product growth in the quarter, matching analyst expectations.

"The general picture of economic growth remains largely the same," the department said in its third and final GDP estimate.

The economy grew 4.1 per cent in the third quarter.

The upward revision for the October-December quarter reflected new data showing stronger consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 per cent of activity in the world's largest economy.

In addition, there was smaller private investment in inventories and in intellectual property products, the department said.

Personal consumption expenditures in the key year-end holiday shopping season rose 3.3 per cent, a solid gain from the 2.6 per cent growth previously estimated.