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Geithner sees first-half U.S. growth around 2 percent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said first half U.S. growth will likely slow to about two percent because of high energy prices and shocks to the global economy, but the underlying trend is still improving.

Geithner, speaking at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, said many economists had anticipated growth in the 3-4 percent range in the first half of 2011.

"It's mostly lower because we had the combination of oil prices high, a catastrophic shock in Japan, terrible weather that pushed construction down, a big unanticipated slowdown in defense spending, a lot of concern about risk from Europe and a bit of tightening of policy in the most rapidly growing parts of the world," he said. "That's a lot of slowdown all at once."

(Reporting by David Lawder)

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