Asias Impact on U.S

Inflation-adjusted growth in U.S. gross domestic product is likely to be 2.5%, or less, down dramatically from 3.7% this year, figures Merrill Lynch & Co., New York. Much of the decline is trade-related--Asia accounts for about 30% of U.S. exports--and will be attributable to a post-financial-turmoil slowdown in Asian economies. At the same time, however, Merrill Lynch notes that with Asia accounting for about 10% of U.S. imports, and Asian prices falling in 1998, the U.S. will be importing deflation. A resulting prediction: the U.S. Labor Dept.s Consumer Price Index will rise less than 2% in 1998.

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