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U.S. Consumer Sentiment Remained Subdued in October -University of Michigan

Consumer sentiment in the U.S. rose slightly in late October but stayed at low levels over the month, signaling that Americans’ mood remains dim amid persisting supply-chain bottlenecks and high inflation.

The final reading of the index of consumer sentiment compiled by the University of Michigan was 71.7 in October, up from the mid-month flash estimate of 71.4 but below the 72.8 reading in September, data released Friday showed.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected the index to stand at 71.2.

“The positive impact of higher income expectations and the receding coronavirus has been offset by higher rates of inflation and falling confidence in government economic policies,” said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist.

Declining living standards due to inflation were spontaneously mentioned by one-of-every five households, concentrated among older and poorer households, Mr. Curtin said.

U.S. consumer sentiment is well below the 101.0 level registered before the pandemic in February 2020.

The index of consumer expectations, which reflects the balance of respondents anticipating improved business conditions in the next six months, fell to 67.9 from September’s 68.1, and was up slightly from the preliminary estimate of 67.2.

The index gauging Americans’ assessment of the current economic conditions decreased to 77.7 in October from 80.1 in September. The preliminary mid-month reading stood at 77.9.

In October, consumers anticipated the highest year-ahead inflation rate since 2008 at 4.8%, Mr. Curtin said. Respondents in the survey also expressed greater uncertainty about the year-ahead inflation rate than anytime in nearly forty years, he said.
Source: Dow Jones

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