Atlanta Fed: Economy Likely Barely Grew in First Quarter

The U.S. economy likely expanded at just a 0.2 percent annualized pace in the first quarter, following weaker-than-forecast data on durable goods orders and advance data for the goods trade balance in March, the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDP Now forecast model showed on Thursday.

The latest first-quarter gross domestic product growth estimate was slower than the 0.5 percent rate calculated on April 18 and an initial expectation of 2.3 percent on Jan. 30, the Atlanta Fed said.

The regional central bank’s latest first-quarter GDP forecast was well below the median forecast of 1.2 percent growth of analysts polled by Reuters.

The government will release its first reading on first-quarter GDP at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT) on Friday.

The U.S. economy grew 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter.

Earlier on Thursday, the Commerce Department said durable goods orders increased 0.7 percent last month, falling short of the 1.2 percent forecast of

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