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U.S. Consumer Sentiment Unexpectedly Improves In December, Inflation Expectations Dip

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Preliminary data released by the University of Michigan on Friday unexpectedly showed an improvement in U.S. consumer sentiment in the month of December.

The report said the consumer sentiment index climbed to 59.1 in December from 56.8 in November, while economists had expected the index to drop to 53.3.

"Gains in the sentiment index were seen across multiple demographic groups, with particularly large increases for higher-income families and those with larger stock holdings, supported by recent rises in financial markets," said Surveys of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu.

She added, "Throughout the survey, concerns over high prices—which remain high relative to just prior to this current inflationary episode—have eased modestly."

The unexpected increase by the headline index came as the current economic conditions index rose to 60.2 in December from 58.8 in November and the index of consumer expectations increased to 58.4 from 55.6.

The report also showed one-year inflation expectations fell to a fifteen-month low of 4.6 percent in December from 4.9 percent in November, while five-year inflation expectations held at 3.0 percent.

"Declines in short-run inflation expectations were visible across the distribution of age, income, education, as well as political party identification," said Hsu.

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