U.S. Consumer Sentiment Unexpectedly Deteriorates In July

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Reflecting the widespread resurgence of the coronavirus, the University of Michigan released a report on Friday showing an unexpected deterioration in U.S. consumer sentiment in the month of July.

The preliminary report said the consumer sentiment index tumbled to 73.2 in July after jumping to 78.1 in June. The pullback surprised economists, who had expected the index to inch up to 79.0.

With the unexpected decrease, Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin noted the index is “insignificantly” above the nearly nine-year low set in April.

“Following the steepest two-month decline on record, it is not surprising that consumers need some time to reassess the likely economic impact from the coronavirus on their personal finances and on the overall economy,” Curtin said.

He added, “Unfortunately, declines are more likely in the months ahead as the coronavirus spreads and causes continued economic harm, social disruptions, and permanent scarring.”

The unexpected drop by the headline index partly reflected concerns about the economic outlook, as the index of consumer expectations slumped to 66.2 in July from 72.3 in June.

The current economic conditions index also showed a notable decrease, slid to 84.2 in July from 87.1 in June.

Meanwhile, the report said one-year inflation expectations inched up to 3.1 percent in July from 3.0 percent in June and five-year inflation expectations rose to 2.7 percent from 2.5 percent.


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