US Consumer Sentiment at 6-Month Low

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment for the United States fell to 94.4 in January of 2018 from 95.9 in December and below expectations of 97, according to preliminary figures. It was the lowest reading in six months, as consumers evaluated current economic conditions less favorably amid uncertainties about the delayed impact of the tax reforms.

The gauge of current conditions went down to 109.2 from 113.8 while the consumer expectations subindex rose to 84.8 from 84.3. 

Also, Americans expect the inflation rate to be 2.8 percent next year, higher than 2.7 percent in December. The 5-year expectation also increased to 2.5 percent from 2.4 percent. 

The survey recorded persistent strength in personal finances and buying plans, while favorable levels of buying conditions for household durables have receded to preholiday levels in early January, largely due to less attractive pricing. 

Tax reform was spontaneously mentioned by 34% of all respondents; 70% of those who mentioned tax reform thought the impact would be positive, and 18% said it would be negative. The disconnect between the future outlook assessment and the largely positive view of the tax reform is due to uncertainties about the delayed impact of the tax reforms on the consumers. Some of the uncertainty is related to how much a cut or an increase people, especially high income households who live in high-tax states, face. Near and long term gas price expectations inched upward in early January but remained significantly below their peak. While long term inflation expectation remained at its 2017 average level and short term inflation expectation inched upward, consumers continued to remain very optimistic about the low national unemployment rate.

US Consumer Sentiment at 6-Month Low

University of Michigan |Joana Taborda |
1/19/2018 3:11:04 PM