The world's largest economy continued to expand at a robust pace in third quarter despite being battered by multiple hurricanes, the US Commerce Department said today. 

Hitting President Donald Trump's growth target for the second quarter in a row, US GDP grew at 3% for the three months from July to September, official figures showed.

Though only a preliminary estimate, the result was much better than forecasts - which had called for a result of 2.4%.

It showed the US had easily absorbed the shocks of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, which badly interrupted economic activity and in Texas and Florida and laid waste to the island territory of Puerto Rico.

The result could fuel arguments among politicans as Republican leaders on Capitol Hill pursue sweeping tax cuts - which they say an expanding economy will finance.

President Trump took office vowing to return the US to sustained 3% annual GDP growth or better, but economists say this is unrealistic. 

The outcome, however, was sure to be hailed by the White House, where President Donald Trump has hastened to take credit for the economy's performance since his inauguration in January, even though his economic agenda is a work in progress that remains in doubt. 

Growth in the third quarter reflected strong US consumer spending and business investment, which were partly offset by sagging home sales and falling state and local government spending. 

Officials stressed that the "advance" estimate was subject to revision as more of the underlying data become available.