WASHINGTON - US consumer spending picked up pace in September, sustaining a three month surge that also represents a downturn in household saving, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

Personal consumption expenditures last month rose 0.8 percent, or $87.9 billion, to $11.25 trillion, after an 0.5 percent pickup in August. Higher gasoline prices contributed partly to the rise. But because disposable incomes only rose 0.4 percent, households cut savings to fuel the rise in spending.

Savings totaled $395b in September, compared to $445b a month earlier, bringing the average saving rate down to 3.3 pc of income. Jim O’Sullivan at High Frequency Economics said the consumption remains feeble. “For the quarter as a whole, real consumption rose at a 2.0 pc annual rate, which is not very strong” though an improvement from the second quarter. “More concerning is the weak 0.8 percent pace for real disposable income in Q3,” he said.

“In short, while real spending finished Q3 strongly, still-weaker income data will keep alive doubts about sustainability.”