Business

US consumer spending barely rises

WASHINGTON US consumer spending barely rose last month, likely due to Hurricane Harvey weighing on auto sales and annual inflation increasing at its slowest pace since late 2015, pointing to moderation in economic growth in the third quarter.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity in the United States, edged up 0.1 per cent also as unseasonably mild temperatures reduced demand for utilities, the Commerce Department said yesterday.

That followed an unrevised 0.3 per cent increase in July.

GAIN

Last month's gain in consumer spending was in line with economists' expectations. When adjusted for inflation, consumer spending slipped 0.1 per cent last month, the first drop since January.

The government said the data reflected the effects of Hurricane Harvey.

But it could not separately quantify the total impact of Harvey on the data.

It said it made adjustments to estimates where source data were not yet available or did not fully reflect the effects of the storm.

The report was the latest suggestion that Harvey, together with Hurricane Irma, would dent economic growth in the third quarter. The economy grew at a brisk 3.1 per cent annualised rate in the second quarter, with consumers doing the heavy lifting. - REUTERS

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