Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 25th 2015 Contents A23
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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WASHINGTON---The US economy
grew at a slightly faster rate in the
summer than previously reported,
mainly because businesses
restocked their goods at a stronger
pace than first thought.
The overall economy, as measured
by the gross domestic product, grew
at an annual rate of 2.1 per cent in
the July-September period, the
Commerce Department reported
yesterday. It previously estimated
growth of 1.5 per cent.
Even with the revision, economic
growth slowed sharply from a 3.9
per cent gain in the second quarter.
The economy then was rebounding
from a harsh winter that had sapped
first quarter growth to a barely dis-
cernible 0.6 per cent pace.
The latest numbers, however,
should give the Federal Reserve con-
fidence as it considers an interest
rate hike at its next meeting in
December. A healthy labour market
and falling gas prices are expected
to fuel consumer spending, pushing
GDP growth in the current quarter
to 2.5 per cent or better, economists
A slowdown in stockpiling
trimmed growth by 0.6 percentage
point in the third quarter. But that
was an improvement from the gov-
ernment's first estimate a month
ago that reduced inventory stock-
piling had cut growth by 1.4 per-
centage points. The government will
make one final estimate of GDP in
the summer next month.
While the revision in inventories
helped third quarter growth, this
improvement was offset somewhat
by slightly slower growth in con-
sumer spending, which grew at a
three per cent annual rate in the
summer. The revision reflected in
part weaker spending on cellphones
than initially estimated.
The trade deficit was a bigger drag
than initially estimated, trimming
growth by 0.2 percentage point, as
exports grew by just 0.9 per cent
in the quarter, down from a 1.9 per-
cent initial estimate. American
exports have been held back this
year by weakness overseas and a ris-
ing value of the dollar, which make
US goods less competitive on foreign
While overall GDP growth is
expected to accelerate slightly to
around 2.5 per cent for the year,
economists are forecasting that 2015
will be another year of only modest
The expectation of stronger con-
sumer spending in the fourth quarter
reflects the solid job gains year. The
government reported that employers
created 271,000 jobs in October, and
the unemployment rate fell to a
seven-year low of five per cent.
That strong jobs performance has
raised expectations that the Federal
Reserve will raise interest rates at
its next meeting on December 15-
16. It has kept its benchmark rate
at a record low near zero for seven
grew 2.1 per cent
in third quarter
WASHINGTON---Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen
says while many savers have been frustrated by
years of low interest rates, the rock-bottom rates
were needed to boost the economy after the Great
In a letter to consumer advocate Ralph Nader,
Yellen said Monday that the low rates helped create
millions of jobs by lowering borrowing costs for busi-
nesses and consumers.
The Fed has indicated it may soon be ready to
begin raising rates. Yellen reiterated that subsequent
rate hikes will be gradual.
Yellen was responding to a letter from Nader, who
said he was writing on behalf of frustrated savers
who have been getting near zero interest on their
bank and money-market savings accounts.
"We are tired of this melodrama that exploits so
many people who used to rely on interest income to
pay some of their essential bills," Nader wrote to
Yellen in the open letter published on his blog. "Think
about the elderly among us who need to supplement
their Social Security checks every month."
Nader urged Yellen to consult her Nobel Prize win-
ning husband, economist George Akerloff, and con-
sider the prospect that "tens of millions of Americans,
with more interest income, could stimulate the econ-
omy by spending toward the necessities of life."
The Fed has kept a key interest rate at a record
low near zero since December 2007. In her reply that
was made public by the Fed, Yellen said that the low
rates were only a partial reflection of Fed policies.
She said they also reflected economic weakness after
the 2008 financial crisis and a deep recession.
She said the low rates had made large consumer
purchases more affordable and encouraged business
to invest, actions that bolstered the recovery and
helped create millions of jobs.
When the Fed begins to raise rates, Yellen wrote,
the increases will likely be gradual to avoid the mistakes
other countries have made in raising rates too quickly.
She said that Japan, where interest rates have remained
near zero for most of the past 25 years, "serves as
a cautionary tale." (AP)
Fed Chair Yellen defends
Fed's low-rate policies
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. AP PHOTO
Yannis Stournaras, governor of Bank of Greece shows the new 20 euro note in Athens, yesterday. The
new 20 euro notes will circulate in the 19 Eurozone countries today. AP PHOTO
20 EURO NOTE
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