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Last Updated: Friday, 11 August 2006, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
US consumers spend more in July
US shoppers
US shoppers continue to dip into their wallets and purses
US shoppers showed more willingness to spend in July - pushing retail sales up at the quickest month-on-month rate seen since January.

The Commerce Department said sales across the country had jumped 1.4% since June, with electronics and household appliances in demand.

Bar and restaurant takings rose, though book and music retailers flagged.

The US economy has been heating up, but this week the Federal Reserve decided to leave interest rates at 5.25%.


By keeping rates unchanged and ending a run of 17 consecutive increases, the Fed signalled that it wanted to slow the economy enough to curb inflation, but without stifling growth.

The news brought relief to millions of consumer and business borrowers, but the Fed said it was still worried about rising prices and wages.

When car sales were stripped out of the latest Commerce Department figures, overall sales grew by 1%.

When both cars and petrol sales were not included, retail grew 1.3%. In further data from the Labor Department, US import prices rose 0.9% - slightly ahead of analysts' 0.8% estimate.

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