By PNA / Xinhua and U.S. News Agency / Asian
U.S. consumer confidence declined to the lowest level this year after hitting a 4.5-year high last month, amid a gloomy outlook for the U.S. economy, a leading industry report said Friday.
The index of U.S. consumer confidence dipped to 73.2 in June from 79.3 last month, which was the highest level since October 2007, according to the final reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment.
The decline in June was the first in the past ten months. The index averaged 64.2 during the last recession and 89 in the five years leading up to the recession that began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.
The index of current conditions, reflecting Americans’ perceptions of their financial situation and whether they consider it a good time to buy big-ticket items like cars, eased to 81.5 from 87.2 in the previous month.
The index gauging consumer expectations for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, also moved down to 67.8 from 74.3.
“The overall June decline would normally be consistent with a somewhat slower spending growth rate,” said Richard Curtin, chief economist of the report, adding that the sharp declines among upper income households may have a greater impact on the economy.
The U.S. economy slowed to an annual rate of 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012, down from the 3 percent growth in the previous quarter, sparking fresh worries about a worsening economy.
It is widely believed that U.S. economic recovery will heavily rely on a rebound of consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the overall economic activity.