US economy shows unexpected strength

US - The US economy grew 0.2% in the last three months of 2001, official data has shown.

The figure defied most economists' expectation that the world's largest economy would contract by up to 1%.

As a result, a fresh cut of US interest rates - currently at 1.75% - is seen to be very unlikely. The US central bank, the Federal Reserve, is due to announce its rate decision at 1915 GMT Wednesday.

Wall Street analysts attributed the unexpected strength of the economy's performance to higher gover

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