US shoppers boosted spending by the most since July last month — even as the global tariff dispute escalated

Reuters
  • American shoppers splurged in November at the fastest pace since summer, even as global trade disputes continued.
  • The Commerce Department said on Friday consumer spending rose 0.4%, its largest gain since July and compared with 0.3% in October.
  • Consumers are the powerhouse of the American economy, accounting for more than two-thirds of activity.
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American shoppers splurged in November at the fastest pace since summer – even as global trade disputes continued to cast uncertainty on the economic outlook.

The Commerce Department said on Friday consumer spending rose 0.4%, its largest gain since July and compared with 0.3% in October. The rise was led by increased purchases of durable goods. Consumers are the powerhouse of the American economy, accounting for more than two-thirds of activity.

In the third quarter, strong consumer spending helped offset the damaging effects of trade tensions. President Donald Trump announced a so-called phase-one trade agreement with China in October but most tariffs were expected to remain in place. Last month, he separately escalated tariff threats against US allies in the European Union and South America.

After barely budging a month earlier, income growth rebounded 0.5% in November. Economists hoped a stronger-than-expected payroll gain of 266,000 last month would put upward pressure on wage growth, which has been stubbornly sluggish despite historically low unemployment rates.

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