Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Surging COVID-19 cases dampen U.S. consumer confidence, house prices post record gains

Economic IndicatorsAug 31, 2021 03:11PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Shoppers carry bags of purchased merchandise at the King of Prussia Mall, United States' largest retail shopping space, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, U.S., December 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mark Makela/File Photo/File Photo 2/2

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer confidence fell to a six-month low in August as worries about soaring COVID-19 infections and higher inflation dimmed the outlook for the economy.

The survey from the Conference Board on Tuesday showed consumers less inclined to buy a home and big-ticket items like motor vehicles and major household appliances over the next six months, supporting the view that consumer spending will cool in the third quarter after two straight quarters of robust growth.

Still, more consumers planned to go on vacation, indicating a rotation in spending from goods to services was underway as economic activity continues to normalize following the upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Increased spending on services, which account for the bulk of economic activity, should keep a floor under consumer spending.

"The report does raise the warning flag that if the pandemic worsens, and given the continued unwillingness of many to get vaccinated that is a real possibility, we could see people stashing away funds just in case," said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economics in Holland, Pennsylvania. "We could see growth moderate faster than expected."

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index dropped to a reading of 113.8 this month, the lowest since February, from 125.1 in July. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index falling to 124.0. The cutoff for the survey was Aug. 25, before the killing of 13 service members in Afghanistan and Hurricane Ida slammed Louisiana.

The measure, which places more emphasis on the labor market, held up well compared to other surveys. The University of Michigan's survey of consumers showed sentiment tumbling to near decade lows in August because of rising prices for goods like food and gasoline, as well as the resurgence in COVID-19 cases that has been driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

"While the resurgence of COVID-19 and inflation concerns have dampened confidence, it is too soon to conclude this decline will result in consumers significantly curtailing their spending in the months ahead," said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board in Washington.

Consumers' inflation expectations over the next 12 months rose to 6.8% from 6.6% last month. There are signs, however, that price pressures have peaked, with data last week showing the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation measure posting its smallest gain in five months in July.

Wall Street's main indexes hovered near record highs. The dollar was steady against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury prices were lower.

LABOR MARKET HOLDING UP

The Conference Board's so-called labor market differential, derived from data on respondents' views on whether jobs are plentiful or hard to get, slipped to a still-high reading of 42.8 this month from 44.1 in July, which was the highest since July 2000.

This measure closely correlates to the unemployment rate in the Labor Department's closely watched employment report.

"It continues to send a pretty favorable signal about labor market conditions," said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) in New York.

Nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 750,000 in August after rising 943,000 in July, according to a Reuters survey of economists. The unemployment rate is forecast falling to 5.2% from 5.4% last month.

Though fewer households intended to buy long-lasting manufactured goods such as motor vehicles and household appliances like washing machines and clothes dryers this month, more expected to travel domestically, with many intending to fly to their destinations.

Households accumulated at least $2.5 trillion in excess savings during the pandemic, laying a strong foundation for consumer spending. Gross domestic product growth estimates for the third quarter are around a 5% annualized rate. The economy grew at a 6.6% pace in the second quarter.

The Conference Board survey also showed less enthusiasm among consumers for home purchases over the next six months amid higher house prices, which are sidelining some first-time buyers from the market.

Demand for housing soared early in the pandemic as Americans sought more spacious accommodations for home offices and home schooling, but supply severely lagged, fueling house price growth. COVID-19 vaccinations have allowed some employers to recall workers to offices. Schools and universities have reopened for in-person learning.

A separate report on Tuesday showed the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index jumped a record 18.6% in June from a year ago after rising 16.8% in May. Economists, however, believe that house price inflation has peaked, with homes becoming less affordable especially for first-time buyers.

"Some early data suggests that the buyer frenzy experienced this spring is tapering, though many buyers still remain in the market," said Selma Hepp, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic. "Nevertheless, less competition and more for-sale homes suggest we may be seeing the peak of home price acceleration. Going forward, home price growth may ease off but stay in the double digits through year-end."

A third report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) showed its house price index rose a record 18.8% in the 12 months through June. House prices surged 17.4% in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2020. FHFA believes house prices peaked in June.

Surging COVID-19 cases dampen U.S. consumer confidence, house prices post record gains
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (3)
ben sc
ben sc Aug 31, 2021 2:10PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
zillow and other online listing services are reporting massive pullbacks in July. This is a joke to be quoting home sales from June. Just so all the lemmings know, tomorrow is September. this data point is aged and irrelevant. Buyers are pulling back.......and they should.
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy Aug 31, 2021 1:00PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
How is socialism working out for ya?
Franco Dominguez
Franco Dominguez Aug 31, 2021 11:04AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
transitory my ba... hike rates ELDER NOWWWW
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email