US buoyed by stronger economic growth data

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The US economy grew at a faster than previously estimated pace during the last three months of 2010, with output expanding at an annualised rate of 3.1 per cent, according to official figures published yesterday.

Economists had pencilled in a revision to 3 per cent from the US Commerce Department's last estimate of 2.8 per cent, which was published in February. The strength was down to robust business investment, which was 7.7 per cent higher over the period, and a 3.3 per cent rise in corporate profits.

Consumer spending, a key component of US growth, was up by 4 per cent in the final quarter of 2010, according to the latest figures, against a previous estimate of 4.1 per cent. Though slightly lower, the new estimate still marks the fastest rate of growth in US consumer spending since the last three months of 2006, and was an improvement on the 2.4 per cent growth rate seen in the third quarter of 2010.