US consumer confidence wanes

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Worries about the US economy came back to the fore yesterday after a widely followed gauge of consumer confidence dipped to its lowest level since February.

The Conference Board's index of consumer attitudes fell to 48.5 in September, against a revised 53.2 reading for August. Lynn Franco, the director of the Conference Board consumer research centre, said consumer "confidence in the state of the economy remained quite grim".

"September's pull-back in confidence was due to less favourable business and labour market conditions, coupled with a more pessimistic short-term outlook," she explained.

The percentage of consumers expecting a worsening of business conditions in the next six months was also higher, rising to 16.4 per cent from 13.4 per cent.