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Although the pace of the expansion has stalled, and the president has proclaimed this summer to be able to do cavort the economy at a rate of 5%, the performance of the 3rd quarter keeps the promises of the presidential campaign.

Housing remained a weak spot in the economy, posing the third consecutive drag on GDP growth, with a contraction of 4 percent.

The U.S. economy grew a robust 3.5 percent from July through September as consumer spending and government spending extended the nation's economic growth, the government said Friday. "And today's GDP numbers show that the GDP is on track to grow over 3 percent for the FIRST TIME in 13 years". The American economy looks like it will expand above a 3% rate in 2018.

Gregory Daco, chief US economist for Oxford Economics, said he expects more modest GDP growth in coming quarters, citing the fading impact of the tax cuts, higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve and increasing trade tensions.

According to the "advance" estimate released by the Commerce Department on Friday, the main drivers of growth in the third quarter were personal consumption expenditures, private inventory investment, and government spending.

The other facet of the coin is that imports, which represent a cost to GDP, have paradoxically strongly increased (+9.1 per cent) in spite of the customs taxes. Analysts had forecast this turn-around, saying it reflected the surge in exports of goods such as soybeans in the spring as producers tried to beat the higher tariffs being imposed by China in retaliation for Trump's tariffs.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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Last month, the Federal Reserve boosted its growth projection to 3.1 percent for 2018, but it saw growth slowing to 2.5 percent next year.

The Congressional Budget Office points to several reasons for that: the expiration of personal income tax cuts, slower growth in federal spending, and higher interest rates and prices. By buying more, the importers seem to have anticipated, in July and August the second round of tariffs on chinese goods imposed in September. Growth in the last two quarters is the fastest six months of growth in four years.

"The report shows strong growth still on trend with consumption better than expected".

Former White House economist Jared Bernstein said the strong showing reflects the fact that so many people are in the job market.

In the end, simultaneous spikes in investment and consumer spending could balance each other out, leaving the price of most goods largely unchanged. Nonresidential fixed investment-reflecting spending on commercial construction, equipment and intellectual property products such as software-rose only 0.8% in the third quarter after rising at a 8.7% rate in the second quarter and 11.5% in the first. Imports subtract from GDP growth. So far, much of the money from the tax cuts is not going directly to investments, but instead to stock buybacks, something Democrats predicted in their opposition of the bill. Household investment has fallen for three straight quarters.

The central bank has raised rates three times this year and signalled it will raise rates one more time this year and expect to raise rates three times in 2019. The housing market contracted at its steepest pace in more than a year in the third quarter, also dimming the economy's outlook.