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US consumer comfort posts biggest decline in almost 10 months

[WASHINGTON] Sentiment among US consumers fell the most in almost 10 months, led by dimmer views of the economy as market turmoil returned on another flareup in the US-China trade war.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index decreased 1.8 points to 62.9 in the week ended Aug 4, data released Thursday show. Attitudes on the economy dropping to the weakest level in almost two months as views on the buying climate and personal finances also slipped.

The mood among Americans remains generally elevated, with the main comfort gauge still near the 18-year highs it reached last month. That's in line with solid July readings for the University of Michigan's sentiment index and the Conference Board's measure, which rebounded to an eight-month high.

Interviews were completed by Aug 4, three days after President Donald Trump raised tariffs on Chinese goods but before before Beijing's retaliation sent US stocks plunging Monday in their steepest loss of the year.

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The decline in comfort was driven by a drop among lower-income Americans. Sentiment among those with household incomes below US$50,000 dropped to 51, after rising in mid-July to the highest in data since 2010. The gauge for those making more than US$50,000 rose to the highest in almost a year.