US economic growth slowed unexpectedly to an annualised rate of 2.6% in the last three months of 2017, the Commerce Department said on Friday.
Economists had expected the rate to be 3% – the same as the three months to September.
A surge in imports was blamed for the slowdown, which meant growth for 2017 came in at 2.3%.
That was better than the 1.5% posted in 2016, but well short of President Donald Trump’s 3% target.
Imports surged by 13.9% in the quarter – the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2010 – offsetting a rise in exports.
As a result, trade sliced off 1.1 percentage points from GDP growth in the three months.
Despite the slowdown, economists expect the US economy to expand by 3% this year, spurred by the weak dollar, rising oil prices and a strong global economy.