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U.S. Consumer Sentiment Unexpectedly Improves In January

consumer 032919 31jan20 lt

Revised data released by the University of Michigan on Friday showed U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly improved in the month of January compared to the previously reported deterioration.

The consumer sentiment index for January was upwardly revised to 99.8 from the preliminary reading of 99.1. The index is now up from the final December reading of 99.3.

The upward revision came as a surprise to economists, who had expected the consumer sentiment index to be unrevised at 99.1.

Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin noted the January reading is insignificantly below the cyclical peak of 101.4.

"The maintenance of consumer sentiment near cyclical peak levels is surprising given the overall slow pace of economic growth, which was accompanied in January by renewed military engagements in the Mideast, an impeachment trial in the Senate, and a fast spreading coronavirus," Curtin said.

He added, "The resilience of consumers is remarkable and due to record low unemployment, record gains in income and wealth, as well as near record lows in inflation and interest rates."

The report said the index of consumer expectations crept up to 90.5 in January from 88.9 in December, while the current economic conditions index edged down to 114.4 from 115.5.

On the inflation front, one-year inflation expectations rose to 2.5 percent in January from 2.3 percent in December and five-year inflation expectations climbed to 2.5 percent from 2.2 percent.

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