By Isaac Cohen*

The Commerce Department revised downward, last week, the rate of US economic growth during this year’s first quarter, from 1.6 percent previously estimated, to 1.3 percent. The figure indicates a slowdown mainly caused by less consumer spending, at an annual rate of 2 percent during this year’s first quarter, down from the relatively vigorous 3.4 percent registered during the last three months of last year.

Additionally, the Commerce Department also said the Personal Consumption Expenditures price index, preferred by the central bank, in April remained at 2.7 percent from a year earlier, the same as in March.

Over the weekend, there was some positive news in the energy sector. Despite the announcement, last Sunday, by the Organization of Petroleum Countries Plus, including Russia, about the continuation into next year of the production cuts in force, West Texas Intermediate oil price declined on Monday to less than $75 per barrel.

These indicators, the evidence of a slowdown, the persistence of inflation above the 2 percent central bank target, and oil prices, together with the employment figure for April, to be released next Friday, will be considered at the next meeting of the Open Market Committee, to be held in Washington on June 11-12.

*International analyst and consultant, former Director ECLAC Washington. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO and other media.        

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