Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill, no doubt under orders to talk-up the nation’s flagging economy, predicted Wednesday there will be a substantial improvement in economic conditions during the third quarter, leading to annual growth in 2002 of between 3% and 3.5%.

And this, he told Seattle business leaders on Wednesday, would take place against a background of “zero inflation”.

O’Neill continued: “If we go back to a balance (of exports and imports) in the third quarter we can expect a growth in the three percent range ... it’s a rate that I think will leave us with zero inflation. I think that as we exit this year we'll see growth rates of between 3 and 3.5 percent.”

Data sourced from: The Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff