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12 Mar 2021 | 15:23

American consumer confidence jumps in early March, University of Michigan says

(Sharecast News) - US consumer sentiment improved by more than expected at the start of the month, led by improved expectations, the results of a very closely-followed survey revealed The University of Michigan's consumer confidence index strengthened from a reading of 76.8 at the end of February to 83.0.

Consensus had been for a smaller improvement to 78.0.

Gains were seen across all socieconomic sub-groups and regions, but the largest increases were seen among households in the bottom third of the income distribution and those aged 55 or over, said the survey's director, Richard Curtin.

However, consumers did not voice any improvement regarding their own financial situation, something that Curtin attributed to the "very small expected gains in household incomes over the next year."

Similarly, buying conditions for vehicles and homes only improved marginally, according to the survey.

Inflation expectations meanwhile remained "elevated" although Americans expected prices to fall back over the longer-term.

"Importantly, consumers thought that the interest rates they faced for mortgages and vehicle loans would rise during the year ahead," Curtin added.

"Overall, the data indicate strong growth in consumer spending during the year ahead, with the largest percentage gains for services, including travel and restaurants, and the smallest increases for vehicles and homes."
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