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Tags: economy | growth | trump

Trump Hails 'Amazing' US Economic Growth: It Is 'Going to Go a Lot Higher'

Trump Hails 'Amazing' US Economic Growth: It Is 'Going to Go a Lot Higher'
(Evan Vucci/AP)

By    |   Friday, 27 July 2018 09:55 AM EDT

President Donald Trump on Friday hailed the "amazing" 4.1 percent quarterly growth rate — the fastest pace since 2014 — as proof that "we've accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportion."

"Once again, we are the economic envy of the entire world," Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and his economic team, said at the White House. "America is being respected again and America is winning again because we are finally putting America first.

"Everywhere we look, we are seeing the effects of the American economic agenda," Trump said. "We are in the midst of the longest positive job-growth streak in history.

"I will say this right now and I'll say it strongly: As the trade deals come in one by one, we're going to go a lot higher than these numbers — and these are great numbers."

The Commerce Department reported that the nation's economy surged in the April-June quarter to an annual growth rate of 4.1 percent, driven by consumers who were spending their tax cuts and exporters who hurried to get their products delivered before retaliatory tariffs took effect.

The gross domestic product, the nation’s total output of goods and services, posted its best showing since a 4.9 percent gain in the third quarter of 2014, the agency said.

The latest GDP figure was nearly double the 2.2 percent growth rate in the first quarter, which was revised up from a previous estimate of 2 percent growth.

Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, rebounded to a 4 percent annual growth rate after turning in a lackluster 0.5 percent gain in the first quarter.

Americans began spending their increased take-home pay on autos and other large items, spurred by the $1.5 trillion tax cut President Trump pushed through Congress in December.

Forecasters expect healthy consumer spending in the second half of this year but a slower pace than in the spring.

President Trump predicted growth would continue to accelerate under his economic policies, though private forecasters cautioned that the April-June pace is unsustainable because it stemmed from temporary factors.

The rest of the year, they said, is likely to see good, but slower growth of around 3 percent.

But Trump dismissed those concerns Friday, declaring: "These numbers are very, very sustainable."

"This isn't a one-time shot," the president said. "I happen to think we're going to do extraordinarily well in our next report next quarter.

"We're on track to hit the highest annual average growth rate in over 13 years."

Trump quickly singled out the narrowing trade deficit for the quarter as evidence that his tariffs and other get-tough policies were generating results.

The Commerce Department said exports rose at a 9.3 percent rate in the second quarter, primarily in soybeans and other key U.S products, while imports grew at a tiny 0.5 percent rate.

The narrowing deficit added a full percentage point to growth in the second quarter, though economists are concerned that a trade war between the United States and China, the world's largest economies, will hurt growth going forward.

Trump called the lower trade deficit figure for the quarter "very dear to my heart, because we've been ripped off by the world.

"It has dropped by more than $50 billion — $52 billion, to be exact.

"That's a tremendous drop," the president said. "We haven't had a drop like that in a long time."

In other Commerce Department data, business investment grew at a solid 7.3 percent rate in the second quarter — while government spending posted a solid gain, rising at a 2.1 percent rate.

The result was boosted by a budget deal earlier this year that added billions to defense and domestic spending.

But housing, which has struggled this year, shrank at a 1.1 percent rate after an even bigger 3.4 percent decline in the first quarter.

Regardless, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said that the data illustrated that "the president's policies are working — and not just on the top line, but in the details.

"The president said that if we deregulate the economy and have tax reform, there will be a capital-spending boom because the factories will come back to America.

"If you look at the data, the factories are booming again.

"The president said that if we emphasize energy production here in the U.S., we could become a dominant energy economy — even become an energy exporter.

"If you look at the data today, one of the reasons why the data are so strong is because drilling and mining activities skyrocketed in an almost unprecedented way."

Turning to President Trump, Kudlow then added: "You said you would bring the trade deficit down and you have.

"The $50 billion reduction in the trade deficit proves that if you stand up for America's workers and let our allies know that deals that aren't reciprocal are not acceptable, you can make a lot of progress.

"Thank you for your leadership and your faith in me."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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President Donald Trump on Friday hailed the "amazing" 4.1 percent quarterly growth rate - the fastest pace since 2014 - as proof that "we've accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportion."
economy, growth, trump
Friday, 27 July 2018 09:55 AM
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