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U.S. Consumer Sentiment Ticks Up More Than Expected

Economic IndicatorsNov 22, 2017 10:01AM ET
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© Reuters. University of Michigan consumer sentiment inches up to 98.5 vs. 98.0 forecast – U.S. consumer sentiment was revised up more than expected in November, according to a report published on Wednesday.

The revision of the data for November from the University of Michigan's Consumer Survey Center showed that consumer sentiment ticked up to 98.5, from the initial reading of 97.8.

Analysts had forecast a smaller increase to 98.0.

The current conditions index was slipped less than expected to 113.5, from the prior 113.6. Analysts had expected it to fall to 113.3.

The consumer expectations component was unexpectedly revised upwards to 88.9. Economists had forecast it to remain unchanged at 87.6.

Meanwhile, inflation expectations for the next 12 months decreased to 2.5%, from the prior 2.6%, while the five-year inflation expectations also moved lower to 2.4%, from 2.5%.

The survey center’s chief economist Richard Curtin noted that consumer sentiment narrowed its loss, although it remained slightly below last month’s decade peak.

“Overall, the Sentiment Index has remained largely unchanged since the start of the year at the highest levels since 2004,” Curtin said.

“In contrast to the media buzz about approaching cyclical peaks and an aging expansion, with the implication of greater uncertainty about future economic trends, consumers have voiced greater certainty about their expectations for income, employment, and inflation. Inflation expectations have shown the smallest dispersion on record, and increased certainty about future income and job prospects has become a key factor that has supported discretionary purchases,” this economist pointed out.

“To be sure, caution is warranted given that the current expansion will soon be the second longest expansion since the mid-1800s, as well as the potential for significant changes in tax policies and the new Fed leadership and Board members,” he warned.

Curtin concluded that the data suggested a 2.7% gain in real consumption expenditures for 2018 and “more importantly for retailers, the best runup to the holiday shopping season in a decade”.

Following the release, EUR/USD was trading at 1.1779 from around 1.1777 ahead of the release of the data, GBP/USD was at 1.3272 from 1.279 earlier, while USD/JPY was trading at 111.83from 111.81 previously.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 93.55, compared to 93.56 ahead of the report.

Meanwhile, U.S. stocks traded near the unchanged mark. The Dow 30 lost 16 points, or 0.07%, the S&P 500 slipped 1 point, or 0.02%, while the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite advanced 4 points, or 0.06%.

Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,288.15 a troy ounce, compared to $1,288.31 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $57.74 a barrel from $57.73 earlier.

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Ticks Up More Than Expected

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