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U.S. second-quarter GDP growth unrevised at 4.2 percent

FILE PHOTO: Empty shipping containers are stacked for storage at Wando Welch Terminal operated by the South Carolina Ports Authority in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, U.S. May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Randall Hill/File Photo

U.S. economic growth accelerated in the second quarter at its fastest pace in nearly four years as previously estimated, putting the economy on track to hit the Trump administration's goal of 3 percent annual growth.

Gross domestic product increased at a 4.2 percent annualized rate, the Commerce Department said on Thursday in its third estimate of GDP growth for the April-June quarter. That was the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2014 and unchanged from the estimate published in August.

The economy grew at a 2.2 percent pace in the January-March period. Upward revisions to spending on residential structures and on nondurable goods like gasoline was offset by a downgrade to inventory investment.

The economy expanded 3.2 percent in the first half of 2018. Growth in the second quarter was driven by the Trump administration's $1.5 trillion tax cut package, which boosted consumer spending after it almost stalled early in the year.

There was a front-loading to soybean exports to China to beat retaliatory trade tariffs, which also powered growth. Economists had expected second-quarter GDP growth would be unrevised at a 4.2 percent pace.