U.S. economy expands 3.2%

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The U.S. economy grew briskly in the first quarter, driven by businesses stocking up on goods for a strengthening consumer demand stoked by the lowest core inflation number in 51 years.

Gross domestic product rose at a 3.2% annual rate January through March, the Commerce Department said Friday in its first estimate of the economic benchmark for the first quarter of the year.

As the economy kept recovering, the core inflation rate — which excludes food and energy prices — increased 0.6% in the first quarter, after rising 1.8% in the fourth quarter.

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