September 20, 2012 / 2:22 PM / in 5 years

Leading economic indicator dips in August

Chevron Corp's refinery, struck by a major fire late on Monday that roiled local gasoline markets, is shown still smouldering in Richmond, California August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A gauge of future U.S. economic activity slipped in August, the Conference Board said on Thursday, pointing to sluggish economic growth in the months ahead.

The group’s Leading Economic Index dipped 0.1 percent to 95.7 after rising 0.5 percent in July. That was in line with economists’ expectations and reflected weak manufacturing orders and consumers’ perceptions of business conditions.

“The economy continues to be buffeted by strong headwinds domestically and internationally,” said Ken Goldstein, an economist at the Conference Board.

“As result, the pace of growth is unlikely to change much in the coming months. Weak domestic demand continues to be a major drag on the economy.”

The economy grew at a 1.7 percent annual rate in the second quarter and not much of a pick-up is seen in the third quarter as fears of tighter U.S. fiscal policy next year and the long-running debt problems in Europe dampen manufacturing activity and hiring.

Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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