THE director of President Clinton's National Economic Council said Dec. 20 that United States economic growth in the fourth quarter of 1993 could be in the range of 4.5 percent and estimated it would be slightly above 3 percent in the first half of next year.
Interviewed on Cable News Network's ``Moneyline'' program, Robert Rubin said more important than the figures were the underlying trends which suggested that the US had embarked on a new period of sustained growth.
``We've got something very powerful going on ... I personally think we have a good chance of good solid growth for a long time without unattractive levels of inflation,'' he said.
Asked specifically about fourth-quarter growth, Rubin said: ``I don't think it's impossible, based on everything I've heard, to see this quarter in the four-and-a-half [percent growth] area.''
Claiming credit for Clinton's economic policies which addressed the long-term need of reducing the budget deficit, Rubin said the recovery would not dissipate as happened to a pickup at the end of last year.
In the first half of next year, Rubin saw growth at ``3 percent, perhaps a touch better'' even if the economies of Japan and Western Europe did not begin to recover until the end of 1994.
Spying case settled
An oil industry critic who accused Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. of illegally spying on him settled his lawsuit Dec. 20 with the consortium that runs the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
The amount of the settlement was not disclosed in United States District Court in Anchorage, Alaska. But sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the sum was several million dollars. One source said it was in the $5 million range.
The critic, Charles Hamel, and his wife, Kathleen, who live in Alexandria, Va., said in a statement that the agreement is a victory for whistle-blowers who leaked confidential information to the Hamels about alleged environmental violations by Alyeska.
Alyeska said in a statement it had not ``conceded any wrongdoing'' but agreed to improve its auditing and accountability procedures.
US District Judge Stanley Sporkin, in announcing the settlement, said the alleged spying on Hamel - if true - cannot be condoned. But the judge said the oil companies that run the pipeline deserve praise for ``calling off the dogs'' when they were told what was going on.