The US economy is slowing to a 'subdued' pace but is not moving toward recession, a survey of leading business economists shows today.

The survey of 50 economic forecasters by the National Association of Business Economists called for the world's biggest economy to cool to a 2.6% annualised growth rate in the  second half of the year.

Because of the strong pace in the first quarter, the full-year expansion would amount to 3.3% by the end of the fourth quarter, NABE said.

'Growth is not as robust as it was in the spring, but the economy is by no means going dormant,' said Carl Tannenbaum, NABE president-elect.

'While the NABE outlook is less sanguine that it was when we last polled in May, our panel still sees only a 1-in-4 chance the current expansion will end before the end of next year,' he added.

The NABE, which polled the economists between August 9 and 24, pared its expectations for 2007 growth from 3% in the May survey to 2.8%.

The survey found high energy costs remain the biggest risk to  the expansion with 46% of the panel ranking energy prices as the biggest risk to the expansion.

Rising interest rates were the number-one risk for 22% of the panelists, followed by 20% who were most concerned about declining home prices.

'Despite these risks, the expansion is not expected to end anytime soon,' the organisation said.

'The NABE panel thinks there is only a 10% chance the expansion will end in 2006 and a 25%probability that a recession will begin in 2007. These probabilities are slightly lower  than in the May survey,' it added.