April 27, 2017 / 2:01 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. economy likely barely grew in first quarter: Atlanta Fed

Crews load and unload consumer products at the Port of New Orleans along the Mississippi River in New Orleans, Louisiana June 23, 2010. Picture taken June 23, 2010. REUTERS/Sean Gardner

NEW YORK (Reuters) - 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 analysts polled by Reuters.

The department also said its first reading on the goods trade deficit in March was $64.81 billion, larger than the deficit of $63.90 billion in February.

Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bernadette Baum

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