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US: Retail rise says growth stronger than thought

Americans spent more than was expected in march, despite rising fuel costs. The news suggests that the economic growth may be stronger than originally thought.

Retail sales increased 0.8 percent after rising 1.0 percent in February. Economists had predicted a 0.3 percent rise.

"Warm weather can explain some of the increase, but it is apparent that households are feeling more confident and are more willing to open their pocketbooks, despite higher gasoline prices," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh.

Analysts are optimistic that the economy grew at an annual pace of at least 2.5 percent in the January-March period, which would be a far more than the sub-2 percent rate many had expected earlier in the quarter.

The economy grew at a 3.0 percent rate in the fourth quarter. But the rising optimism over the economy was tempered by a report showing manufacturing in New York state slowed sharply this month as shipments of goods weakened.

Source: www.reuters.com

Publication date: 4/17/2012


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