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Last Updated: Friday, 21 December 2007, 15:47 GMT
Heavy discounts lure US shoppers
US shoppers
Discounts encouraged shoppers to spend in November
US consumers headed to the shops in November, pushing up spending by the largest amount in three-and-a-half years, official data has shown.

The Commerce Department said that consumer spending rose 1.1% last month, nearly triple the October gain.

Heavy discounting by retailers and longer opening hours encouraged people to part with their cash, it said.

The data suggests consumers are still spending despite a housing slump, tight credit and high energy costs.

"Once again, it appears the demise of the US consumer has been exaggerated," said Marc Chandler, head of global foreign exchange strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.

The November rise was the biggest one-month jump since May 2004 and was significantly more than economists were expecting.

The Commerce Department's personal consumption expenditure price index, a key measure of inflation, rose 0.6%, the biggest gain since September 2005.

However, the increase was almost entirely due to a surge in the price of petrol. Core prices, which strip out food and energy costs, went up by 0.2%.

The data also showed that personal incomes rose 0.4% from the previous month, less than economists were expecting.

Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of US economic activity.

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