White House's Lindsey Sees 2002 U.S. Growth Above 3%

By Agence France-Presse U.S. economic growth will accelerate beyond 3% on average this year, White House Assistant of the President for Economic Policy Lawrence Lindsey predicted April 3. That prediction is much stronger than the latest official White House forecast of 0.7% growth for the year, released in February, and above the 1.2% GDP growth rate recorded for last year. Business investment, cited by many policymakers as the key to a sustained recovery, is likely to resume growth later in the year, after declining continuously since late 2000, Lindsey said. "Forecasting business investment is difficult; I'd say [in the] second half of the year we'd see a return to increases," he said. Separately, U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs John B. Taylor said he expects the U.S. economy to continue on a strengthening path, adding that he does not expect the country to slip back into a recession any time soon. Speaking to Wall Street groups in New York, Taylor said he expects GDP in the first quarter to show higher growth than in the prior quarter, with second quarter growth continuing higher yet. "There's no reason to think that there will be a double dip," noted Taylor, referring to forecasts from some economists that the current expansion is only temporary before a return to recession. High commodity prices -- oil prices are currently hovering near six-month highs -- will not necessarily hamper economic growth prospects, according to Taylor, who said, "I wouldn't focus" on such price fluctuations. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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