WASHINGTON -- A group of top economic forecasters believes the Federal Reserve's 15-month string of interest rates boosts to ward off inflation is near an end.
Economists "seemed increasingly optimistic that the Fed has successfully countered any inflation threat to the economy and they have adopted an optimistic outlook for interest rates," the National Association for Business Economics said Monday in its quarterly economic outlook.
"Panelists are increasingly convinced that the run-up in interest rates is at its end," the group said in its survey, which is based on forecasts made by 30 of the association's 3,000 members in the last two weeks of August.
The Fed has boosted interest rate six times since June 1999 to slow the economy and keep inflation under control.
The forecasters, citing solid advances in business investment and both exports and imports, revised upward their forecasts for the economy's growth this year as measured by the gross domestic product, the total output of goods and services within the United States.
They said they now expect GDP to increase 5.2 percent in 2000, up from their previous estimate of 4.9 percent. If the 5.2 percent GDP increase is realized, it would be the strongest economic growth since a 7.3 percent advance in 1984. In 1999, the economy grew by 4.2 percent.
The forecasters estimated that GDP will grow by 3.3 percent in 2001.
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