Consumer confidence in the United States in August fell to its lowest level this year. High petrol prices, a slowing housing market and worries about job growth were all factors. The private business research group the Conference Board, which surveys 5,000 US households, said its monthly confidence index slumped to 99.6. In July it stood at 107. That was the biggest point drop since September last year after Hurricane Katrina hit the US Gulf coast.
The people questioned were more pessimistic about the job market six months from now, suggesting consumer spending may fall further; it already declined in the second quarter of the year. This latest warning signal for the world’s largest economy had a negative impact on US share indexes and also pulled down European stock markets.