N.Y. Fed raises U.S. first-quarter GDP estimate near 3 percent

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Federal Reserve said on Friday it raised its forecast on U.S. gross domestic product in the first quarter to near 3 percent following stronger-than-expected data on new home sales and durable goods orders in February.


The regional central bank's "Nowcast" forecast program showed first-quarter GDP on track to expand at a 2.96 percent pace, faster than the 2.83 percent rate calculated a week ago.


N.Y. Fed's latest first-quarter GDP forecast is nearly 2 percentage point higher than its Atlanta counterpart's estimate.


Earlier Friday, the Commerce Department said durable goods orders increased 1.7 percent last month, more than the 1.2 percent gain forecast of analysts polled by Reuters. This compared with an upwardly revised 2.3 percent increase in January.


On Thursday, the agency said domestic new home sales rose 6.1 percent last month at an annualized rate of 592,000 units, its fastest pace since July 2016.

Meanwhile, the New York Fed raised its forecast on GDP for second quarter to 2.66 percent from 2.53 percent a week ago.

(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)