Second-quarter U.S. GDP rose above expectations in the preliminary report, rising to 3.3% from the previously reported 1.9%, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on Thursday.

Economists were expecting a revision to 2.7%. First-quarter growth in 2008 was 0.9%. Exports advanced by 13.2% in the revision, up from the originally posted 9.2% gain, while imports fell by 7.6%, following the former 6.6% decline. Imports are a subtraction in GDP, so the contraction helps improve the headline GDP figure.

Inventories were slashed by $49.4 billion in the revised report following a drop of $62.2 billion in the advance estimate.

Personal consumption in the first quarter posted a 1.7% increase, higher from the previous estimate and above expectations.

Core PCE, which excludes sales of volatile food and energy components, posted a 2.1% gain on a quarter-over-quarter basis, in line with the advance figure originally posted.

The GDP price index came in at 1.2% for the quarter, unrevised from the advance GDP report.

By Steve Stecyk and edited by Nancy Girgis