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In the final few months of 2012, political uncertainty depressed business and consumer confidence despite a pick-up in hiring and consumption. Some progress was made in clarifying fiscal policy concerns, including making permanent most of the Bush-era marginal tax rates. Policymakers “kicked the can” on spending cuts and budget ceiling decisions. Occupancy rates continued to rise in all major property sectors, and income is growing. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth slipped in the fourth quarter due to reduced defense spending, inventory drawdown and lower export demand.
Source : UBS AG