Consumer Confidence Slides for Third Straight Month

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WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence slid again in July higher prices for food, gas and just about everything else continued to weigh on Americans.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell to 95.7 in July from 98.4 in June, largely due to consumers' anxiety over the current conditions, particularly four-decade high inflation.

The business research group’s present situation index — which measures consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions — fell from 147.2 to 141.3.

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise its benchmark borrowing rate again Wednesday — possibly by another three-quarters of a point — in an effort to combat the persistent inflation that settled in during the pandemic. The U.S. central bank has already raised rates by a combined 1.25% since May and it's already cooled a once red-hot housing market as mortgage rates tick higher.

U.S. inflation surged to a new four-decade high in June because of rising prices for gas, food and rent, squeezing household budgets and pressuring the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates aggressively -- trends that raise the risk of a recession if consumers pull back on spending.

The government’s consumer price index soared 9.1% over the past year, the biggest yearly increase since 1981, with nearly half of the increase due to higher energy costs.

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