U.S. economic growth unexpectedly slowed in the fourth quarter as the strongest pace of consumer spending in three years resulted in a surge in imports.
Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.6 percent annual rate also restrained by a modest pace of inventory accumulation, the Commerce Department said in its advance fourth-quarter GDP report on Friday. That followed a 3.2 percent growth pace in the third quarter.
Imports, which subtract from GDP growth, increased at their fastest rate in more than seven years. Rising imports underscore the challenges that the Trump administration faces in its quest to boost annual GDP growth to 3 percent.