Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 28th 2015 Contents A18
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, February 28, 2015
to 2.2 per cent
WASHINGTON---The US economy slowed more
sharply in the final three months of the year than
initial estimates, reflecting weaker business stock-
piling and a bigger trade deficit.
The Commerce Department said yesterday that
the economy as measured by the gross domestic
product grew at an annual rate of 2.2 per cent in the
October-December quarter, weaker than the 2.6 per
cent first estimated last month. It marked a major
slowdown from the third quarter, which had been
the strongest growth in 11 years.
Economists, however, remain optimistic that the
deceleration was temporary. Many forecast that growth
will rise above 3 per cent in 2015, which would give
the country the strongest economic growth in a
decade. They say the job market has healed enough
to generate strong consumer spending going forward.
The economy is "doing just fine," said Paul Ash-
worth, chief US economist at Capital Economics,
who noted that although GDP growth slowed in the
fourth quarter, the US added an average of 284,000
new jobs from October through December.
For all of 2014, the economy expanded 2.4 per
cent, up slightly from 2.2 per cent growth in 2013.
Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 per
cent of economic activity, was a bright spot in the
fourth quarter. It expanded at an annual rate of 4.2
per cent, down slightly from the first estimate of 4.3
per cent growth but still the best showing since the
first quarter of 2006.
Yesterday s report was the second of three estimates
for fourth quarter GDP, the broadest measure of the
economy s total output of goods and services.
The downward revision stemmed largely from
slower stockpiling by businesses. Last month, the
rise in inventories was estimated to have added 0.8
percentage points to fourth quarter growth. But that
was lowered to a contribution of just 0.1 percentage
point in the new estimate. The change, however, will
likely translate into stronger growth in the current
quarter because businesses will not have to work
down an overhang of unsold goods. (AP)
Indian Finance Minister Arun
Jaitley, centre, and Indian
Minister of State for Finance
Jayant Sinha, seated left, pose
for photographs with their
team on the eve of annual
budget presentation, in New
Delhi, India. The Economic
Survey, an annual report on the
state of Asia's third-largest
economy, said yesterday that
India's economy will grow more
than 8 per cent in the
upcoming financial year, which
would make it the world's
fastest growing economy,
surpassing China. AP PHOTO
Lloyds pays first
dividend since bail out
LONDON---London-based Lloyds Banking Group
passed a milestone yesterday in its recovery from
the financial crisis, reporting an annual profit and
announcing plans to pay a dividend for the first
time since it was rescued by British taxpayers.
The bank posted net income of £1.13 billion com-
pared with a loss of £838 million in 2013. The bank
plans to pay a dividend of 0.75 pence per share,
resulting in a total payout of £535 million.
"This is a symbolic development that bears tes-
tament to our successful transformation and
improved risk profile of the business," chief executive
officer Antonio Horta-Osorio said in a statement.
The government responded with glee, particularly
as the announcement comes two months before the
May 7 general election in which Britain s recovery
from the 2008 financial crisis will be a central issue.
Though the payout requires shareholder approval,
Chancellor George Osborne described it as good
news for savers, shareholders and those whose pen-
sions are invested in Lloyds.
"Today s results are another major milestone in
the recovery of the British economy from the Great
Recession and the bank bailouts," Osborne said.
The government injected 20 billion of state capital
into Lloyds during the financial crisis, acquiring a
40 per cent stake. Political leaders are anxious to
return the bank to the private sector, both to get the
government s money back and to help the recovery.
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