US budget cuts 'hit consumer sentiment'

Shopper in a supermarket in Chicago The report said consumer confidence was weaker

US consumer confidence fell sharply this month, a closely-watched report has suggested.

The Conference Board's index of consumer attitudes fell by 8.3 points to 59.7 in March.

The research group primarily blamed the fall on the US federal budget cuts that came into force at the start of this month.

Separate data on Tuesday from the Commerce Department was more positive, showing a rise in durable goods sales.

Sale of such long-lasting factory products rose by 5.7% in February, the biggest increase in five months.

Yet the Commerce Department also said that sales of new US homes fell in February.

Sale of new residential properties fell to a seasonally adjusted 411,000 in February, 4.6% lower than the 431,000 sold in January, which had been a five-year high.

The government cuts - called the "sequester" cuts - came into force earlier this month. They were due to the federal government running out of funds before a new budget was finally agreed by the US Senate on 20 March.

"This month's retreat was driven primarily by a sharp decline in expectations, although consumers were also more pessimistic in their assessment of current conditions," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's economic indicators.

"The recent sequester has created uncertainty regarding the economic outlook, and as a result consumers are less confident."

More on This Story

US Economy

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ITChild's play

    It's never been easier for small businesses to get their message out to the world

Programmes

  • Joe Ierardi playing a pianoClick Watch

    Meet the man trying to create the perfect digital piano - but is it as good as the real thing?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.