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U.S. Consumer Sentiment Improves More Than Expected In June

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A report released by the University of Michigan on Friday showed a much bigger than expected improvement in U.S. consumer sentiment in the month of June.

The report said the preliminary reading on the consumer sentiment index for June came in at 99.3 compared to the final May reading of 98.0. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 98.5.

The bigger than expected increase by the headline index reflected an improvement in assessments of current conditions, with the current economic conditions index jumping to 117.9 in June from 111.8 in May.

On the other hand, the report showed a decrease by the index of consumer expectations, which fell to 87.4 in June from 89.1 in May.

"Consumer sentiment rose slightly in early June due to consumers' more favorable assessments of their current financial situation and more favorable views of current buying conditions for household durables," said Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist.

He added, "The Expectations Index, in contrast, declined to its lowest level since the start of the year due to less favorable prospects for the overall economy."

On the inflation front, one-year inflation expectations ticked up to 2.9 percent in June from 2.8 percent in May and five-year inflation inched up to 2.6 percent from 2.5 percent.

"At some point in every economic expansion, favorable income and job prospects act to offset higher inflation and interest rate expectations," Curtin said.

He added, "Only when inflation and interest rates are expected to persistently exceed income and job prospects will consumers begin to curtail their discretionary spending."

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