White House cites slower growth but no recession with eye on gas prices

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States appears to be shifting to a period of slower job and economic growth, and recent economic data was not consistent with recession in the first or second quarters of this year, White House officials said on Tuesday.

The officials said they had not seen the key data on consumer prices due to be released on Wednesday, but that they expected energy and food prices to account for more than 40% of the annual increase.

But energy prices had declined since the data for the June CPI index was collected and U.S. gasoline prices could be expected to decline in the weeks ahead, the officials told reporters.

Still, it was a little too soon to say energy prices had topped out, they said.

"I think it's a little early to declare that we're definitively at a peak in terms of energy prices, and gas in particular," a senior White House official told reporters.

The White House comments come as investors brace for Wednesday's much-anticipated U.S. CPI data, one of the key inflation indicators.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Susan Heavey; additional reporting by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Rami Ayyub and Bernadette Baum)

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