SILVER SPRING, Md.  — U.S. consumer confidence declined for the third straight month in September as the rapidly spreading delta variant of the coronavirus extends the life of a global pandemic.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell to a reading of 109.3 in September, down from 115.2 in August. September’s reading is lowest level for the index since it sank to 95.2 in February.

Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators for the Conference Board, said that consumer confidence is still high by historical standards but noted that the index has fallen by nearly 20 months since reaching 128.9 in June. “These back-to-back declines suggest consumers have grown more cautious and are likely to curtail spending going forward,” Franco said.

The view of consumers on both the present situation and future expectations continued to degrade as intentions for spending on big items likes homes, autos and major appliances all retreated again, the board said.

Concerns about inflation are also dampening consumer sentiment.

Consumer prices in recent months have been posting 12-month gains as high as 5.4 percent, a rate not seen since 2008.


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