US consumer sentiment unexpectedly improves in April
(ShareCast News) - US consumer sentiment unexpectedly improved in April, according to the preliminary reading from the University of Michigan.
The consumer sentiment index rose to 98.0 from 96.9 in March and 89.0 in April 2016, beating expectations for a reading of 96.6.
Meanwhile, the current economic conditions index pushed up to 115.2 from 113.2 in March and 106.7 in April last year. The index came in at its highest level since 2000 and nearly hit its all-time peak of 121.1 set in 1999.
The index of consumer expectations printed at 86.9 in April from 86.5 the month before and 77.6 in the same month a year ago.
Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin said: "While partisanship had no impact on the current conditions index (Democrats and Republicans differed by just 0.4 points), the data suggest the beginning of a convergence on the expectations index, with the figure for Democrats rising 7% and falling for Republicans by 7%, although the gap still remained an astonishing 50.5 index points. Much more progress on shrinking the partisan gap is needed to bring economic expectations in line with reality.
"A slow pace of convergence will make it more difficult to disentangle political fervour from what appears to be a growing sense among consumers that the economy will experience fundamental changes in the years ahead. It can be anticipated that optimism will commingle with uncertainty, causing uneven spending patterns across months. Moreover, differential price trends for assets, products, and imports will cause uneven trends in incomes, wealth, and spending across products as well as economic subgroups."