Government says consumer spending up
US consumer spending rose 0.9 per cent in December as shoppers, enjoying a respite from inflation, dipped into their savings to make purchases, a US government report revealed.

The rise in spending, which beat forecasts for a 0.7 per cent gain, outstripped the second straight monthly 0.4 per cent increase in personal income. In addition, November's spending figures were revised up.

The Commerce Department said its price index for consumer spending was flat for the month, with the core rate, which excludes food and energy, up just 0.1 per cent. Analysts had expected the core index to rise 0.2 per cent.

With spending rising faster than income, the personal saving rate came in at a negative 0.7. This was the lowest saving rate since August and marked the seventh consecutive month consumers spent from their accumulated wealth.