UMich Inflation Expectations Accelerated In April To 2024 Highs

Short-term inflation expectations rose… again… according to the latest UMich sentiment survey with 1-year expectations at 3.2% final, up from preliminary 3.1% for April, and 2.9% for March. This is the highest level since Nov 2023…

Source: Bloomberg

The headline sentiment also declined in April from three-year-highs. Consumers’ perceptions of their current financial situation and the economic outlook over the next year both slid to four-month lows. The current conditions gauge dropped to 79 from 82.5. A measure of expectations fell to 76 from 77.4.

Source: Bloomberg

While “consumers’ frustration over high prices in their day-to-day spending decisions grew this month, price concerns for large purchases – durable goods, vehicles, and homes – were all little changed from last month,’’ Joanne Hsu, director of the survey, said in a statement.

About 38% of consumers reported that high prices were weighing down their living standards, up from 33% who said so last month.

Sentiment gauges also provide insight into voters’ feelings about the economy and their finances leading up to the presidential election in November. President Joe Biden’s recent polling bump in key battleground states has mostly evaporated amid economic pessimism, the latest Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll found.

“Consumers continue to express uncertainty about the future trajectory of the economy pending the outcomes of the upcoming election,” Hsu said.

Partisan differences in views of the economy remain pronounced. While Democrats and Independents saw little change in sentiment this month, sentiment for Republicans fell about 6 index points.

Republicans reported declines for four of the five components of the sentiment index, reflecting their deteriorating views across multiple facets of the economy. Despite these declines, sentiment for Republicans remains well above 2022 and 2023 levels.

In fact, the current reading for Republicans’ Expectations Index is the second highest (after last month) since the end of 2020, as the Trump presidency came to a close.

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