March 14, 2018 / 3:17 PM / 5 months ago

Atlanta Fed's U.S. first-quarter GDP growth view drops below 2 percent

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. economy is on track to expand at a 1.9 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, a slower rate than previously estimated, following February’s data on domestic retail sales and consumer prices, the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow forecast model showed on Wednesday.

A crane flies an American flag over a construction site in downtown Los Angeles, California October 29, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The regional Fed reduced its projection on personal consumption expenditure growth in the first three months of 2018 to 1.4 percent from 2.2 percent.

The latest estimate on gross domestic product was slower than the 2.5 percent growth pace calculated on March 9, theAtlanta Fed said.

The Atlanta Fed’s estimate on first-quarter GDP started at 4.2 percent on Jan. 29 and has steadily fallen on soft readings on industrial output, home sales and trade balance.

On Wednesday, the Commerce Department said retail sales fell for a third consecutive month in February.

The Labor Department said on Tuesday that consumer prices increased by a 0.2 percent last month amid a decline in gasoline prices and a moderation in the cost of rental accommodation.

Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Dan Grebler

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