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US consumer spending barely rises 0.1% in August; core inflation retreats

The US inflation remained benign last month

Reuters  |  Washington 

A picture illustration shows Mexican pesos and U.S. dollars banknotes in Mexico City (Reuters)
A picture illustration shows Mexican pesos and U.S. dollars banknotes in Mexico City (Reuters)

US barely rose in August likely as weighed on auto sales and annual increased at its slowest pace since late 2015, pointing to the moderation in economic growth in the third quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Friday consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, edged up 0.1 percent last month also as unseasonably mild temperatures reduced demand for utilities. That followed an unrevised 0.3 percent increase in July.

Last month's gain in was in line with economists' expectations. When adjusted for inflation, slipped 0.1 percent in August, the first drop since January.

The government said the data reflected the effects of However, it could not separately quantify the total impact of 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 grew at a brisk 3.1 percent annualized rate in the second quarter, with consumers doing the heavy lifting.

Harvey, which tore through in late August, has undercut industrial production, home building, and home sales. Further declines are expected after Irma slammed Florida in early September.

Economists estimate the storms could slice off as much as six-tenths of a percentage point from third-quarter GDP growth. However, a pick-up in output is expected in the fourth quarter as communities ravaged by the hurricanes rebuild.

remained benign last month. The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index excluding food and energy rose 0.1 percent. The so-called core PCE has increased by the same margin for four straight months.

As a result, the annual increase in the core PCE price index slowed to 1.3 percent after advancing 1.4 percent in July. That was the smallest year-on-year increase since November 2015. The core PCE is the Federal Reserve's preferred measure and has a 2 percent target.

The US central bank signaled last week it anticipated one more interest rate increase by the end of the year. On Tuesday, Chair said the needed to continue gradual rate hikes despite uncertainty about the path of It has increased borrowing costs twice this year.

also probably impacted on income in August.

rose 0.2 percent last month after increasing 0.3 percent in July. Savings fell to $522.9 billion in August from $524.8 billion in the prior month.

First Published: Fri, September 29 2017. 19:17 IST
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