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Obama says US economy likely to contract in 2nd quarter
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U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday that he expects U.S. economy will continue to shrink during the second quarter.

"I suspect that GDP numbers will still show that the economy contracted in the second quarter, that job loss is still a huge problem," Obama told reporters after meeting with Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The Commerce Department will report the GDP data of the second quarter on Friday.

According to the department, the U.S. economy fell at an annual rate of 5.5 percent in the first quarter, the third straight quarterly decline, followed decreases of 6.3 percent in the final quarter of 2008 and 0.5 percent in the third quarter of last year.

"We have seen a significant slowing down of the contraction over the last several months," Obama said, noting that there are no longer fears of another Great Depression.

"All of that is a sign that we have stepped away from the precipice," he said. "We were in a position where we could have gone into a great depression. I think those fears have abated."

(Xinhua News Agency July 31, 2009)

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