The US economy grew faster than originally reported in the three months from July to September, expanding at a 2.1% annual rate, the Commerce Department said today. 

Higher exports and residential investment helped boost growth from the 1.9% estimated last month, according to the more complete data on the third quarter. 

Business investment, which has been hit hard by President Donald Trump's trade war with China, also helped in a way, declining by less than originally reported, dropping 2.7% rather than 3% in the first estimate. 

The consensus among economists predicted no revision to the GDP result.

But some correctly forecast the upward revision which puts the third quarter on track to improve on the 2% growth in the second quarter, after the 3.1% expansion in the first three months of the year.

Consumption, the traditional driver of growth and accounting for 70% of US GDP, remained strong, advancing by 2.9%, with a strong rise in spending on durable goods such as cars or appliances, according to the data.

Investment in real estate market jumped 5.1%, the strongest in two years, boosted by low interest rates. 

At the height of the trade war, exports, which fell 5.7% in the second quarter, recovered slightly in the latest quarter, rising 0.9% - two-tenths stronger than originally reported. 

Imports also were stronger than previously estimated, rising by 0.8%.

These positive revisions were offset by a downward revision of government spending which gained 1.6% instead of 2% in the first estimate. 

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department in a separate report said durable goods orders in October also were far better than expected, rising by 0.6% rather than the sharp decline economists had forecast.  

Without the volatile transportation sector, orders also rose by 0.6%.