April 8, 2016 / 3:41 PM / a year ago

U.S. economy seen barely grew first quarter: Atlanta Fed

Robotic arms spot welds on the chassis of a Ford Transit Van under assembly at the Ford Claycomo Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri April 30, 2014.Dave Kaup

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. economy is seen as having barely expanded in the first quarter following news of a steeper-than-expected drop in wholesale inventories in February, the Atlanta Federal Reserve's GDPNow forecast model showed on Friday.

The latest estimate on the annualized growth pace for U.S. gross domestic product seen for the first three months was 0.1 percent, slower than prior estimate 0.4 percent on Tuesday, the Atlanta Fed said on its website.

After the latest inventory data, the model forecast the drag from inventory investment on first-quarter GDP increased to 0.7 percentage point from an earlier forecast of 0.4 point.

Reporting by Richard Leong

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