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Post-ABC CCI: Inflating Prices, Deflating Comfort

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reported to Congress, Wednesday, that inflation poses a risk to the economy. Judging by the Washington Post-ABC News Consumer Comfort Index (CCI), the American people have felt the effects of inflation and share his concern for the economy's future.

Amid rising costs for gas and groceries, the index remained in negative territory this week driven by gloomy assessments of the buying climate and personal finances. The index now stands at -11 on its scale of -100 to +100, below its long-term average of -9.

Just a third of consumers say now is a good time to buy and 55 percent rate their personal finances positively this week, a low for the year and the lowest percentage to say so since October.

The cost of a gallon of fuel averaged $3.05 this week according to the Department of Energy, rising seven cents over last week's average price. And although overall inflation is low, food prices have risen dramatically in 2007, rising at an annual rate of 6 percent since January according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The third component of the index, perceptions of the national economy, remained steady with 42 percent saying the economy is excellent or good and 58 percent rating it negatively.

In addition to the weekly index, this week's release contains the monthly check-in on the economic outlook. Americans' take on the economy's direction remained steady this month. One in 10 believe the economic picture is improving while half say it is getting worse and 36 percent say it is staying the same.

Full survey data for the Post-ABC CCI can be found here, and more information on methodology can be found here.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  July 18, 2007; 4:25 PM ET
Categories:  Post-ABC Consumer Comfort Index  
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