WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. consumer confidence dipped in August from a six-year high hit last month as interest rates moved higher, according to a consumer sentiment index released Friday.
The preliminary reading of the consumer sentiment in the first half of August edged down to 80 from 85.1 in July, the highest since July 2007, the monthly Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index showed.
The sub-index of current economic conditions, which reflects Americans' perceptions of their financial situation and whether they consider it a good time to buy big-ticket items like houses or cars, edged down to 91 in August from a six-year high of 98.6 in July.
The sub-index gauging consumer expectations for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, dipped to 72.9 in August from 76.5 last month.
U.S. long-term interest rates have spiked more than a full percentage point since early May on speculation that the Federal Reserve may start to scale back bond purchases in September.
That has pushed up mortgage rates, which could slow the recent momentum in the housing market recovery and hold down consumer confidence.
The consumer sentiment index, released twice each month, one preliminary and the other final, averaged 64.2 during the last recession, from December 2007 to June 2009, and was at 89 in the five years leading up to the recession.