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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 17:20 GMT
US consumer confidence shows dip
Oil refinery
There has been a negative reaction to higher oil prices
US consumers are worried about rising oil and gasoline prices, the University of Michigan's index of consumer confidence has indicated.

The index dropped to 92.9 in early March, down from 94.1 in February, confounding analysts' expectations that it would improve.

Consumer spending accounts for 66% of US economic activity and is viewed as a gauge of the health of the economy.

The report was a shock after February's creation of 262,000 new jobs.

However some analysts have pointed out that consumers continue to buy cars and homes, even when telling surveys that things are getting worse.

"It sounds like there's a bit of a negative reaction to higher oil prices but the level of confidence is still more than high enough to keep consumer spending growing solidly," said Jim O'Sullivan, senior economist at UBS.

There was no major reaction in US markets to the report.

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