By John S. McClenahen The U.S. Commerce Department Aug. 27 said that GDP growth during this year's second calendar quarter was at an annual rate of 2.8%, two-tenths of a percentage point less than the 3% rate it reported about a month ago. A deeper U.S. trade deficit was a major factor behind the slowdown in growth. A downward revision was widely expected, although the latest number is not as low as the 2.6% that UBS Investment Research was anticipating or the 2.5% that Merrill Lynch & Co. had projected. During this year's first quarter GDP advanced at a 4.5% annual rate. The issue now is whether the second-quarter slowdown and subsequent oil-price hikes will cause the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to leave short-term interest rates alone at its next scheduled meeting on Sept. 21. The influential federal funds target rate is now at 1.5% and an increase in September would be the third of this year. However, unless there is some dramatic development between now and Sept. 21 that would make such a move economically unwise, chances are that the FOMC will increase the target by another 25 basis points to 1.75% as its process of "measured" monetary adjustment continues.