United States: Economy accelerates in third quarter on strong investment
October 27, 2011
The economy expanded at a seasonally adjusted annualised rate (saar) of 2.5% in the third quarter, according to advance estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on 27 October. The reading nearly doubled the previous quarter's 1.3% expansion and was broadly in line with market expectations. As in the previous quarter, the rebound was underpinned by stronger fixed investment, which picked up further from an already healthy 9.2% expansion in the second quarter to a 13.7% increase. The improvement was the result of non-residential fixed investment growing a solid 16.3% (Q2: + 10.3% quarter-on-quarter saar), whereas residential investment slowed to a 2.4% increase (Q2: + 4.2% qoq saar). In contrast, the change in private inventories subtracted one full percentage point from growth in the third quarter. Private consumption picked up as well, accelerating from a 0.7% increase in the second quarter to a 2.4% expansion in the third quarter, while government consumption remained flat over the previous three month period (Q2: -0.9% qoq saar). On the external front, both exports and imports accelerated over the previous quarter, increasing 4.0% (Q2: +3.6% qoq saar) and 1.9% (Q2: +1.4% qoq saar) respectively. As a result, the external sector's net contribution to overall growth was virtually unchanged from the previous quarter, at 0.2 percentage points.