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Learning English - Words in the News
31 August, 2007 - Published 11:02 GMT
US economic growth
US oil refinery
The US economy appears stronger

The United States economy grew at a strong annual rate of four per cent in the second quarter of this year, according to new figures from the Commerce Department. However, the data covers a period before the recent financial market difficulties. This report from Andrew Walker:

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The new figures cover the three months up to the end of June. They represent a significant increase compared with the government's first estimate a few weeks ago. And they are a very pronounced improvement compared with the decidedly weak performance in the first three months of the year. Strong investment by American business was one of the main factors behind the faster growth.

There is some comfort for financial markets in these figures, but, it must be said, not very much. The recent volatility in credit markets and share prices is not reflected at all. It came a few weeks after the end of the period these figures cover. How will those events affect the wider economy remains the big question about them.

Traders in the markets are also trying to guess whether the Federal Reserve - the US central bank - will cut interest rates again to limit any economic consequences. Many are hoping the Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will give some clues when he speaks on Friday at a gathering of central bankers from around the world.

Andrew Walker, BBC

Listen to the words

represent a significant increase
show a big growth

a guess of what the value, amount, cost, etc. of something might be

pronounced improvement
clearly becoming better

decidedly weak performance
clearly doing badly

There is some comfort
here, financial markets are a little more secure than before

changing suddenly and unexpectedly

affect the wider economy
have an impact/influence on all sectors of the US economy

to limit
to control something so that it is not greater than a particular amount or level

economic consequences
here, the impact that the recent situation on the markets could have on the economy

information or signs that help you to find the answer to a question

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