Wed, August 10, 2022


U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly drops to 4-month low

U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in December to a four-month low amid surging covid-19 cases that are spurring more states to tighten restrictions on businesses and travel.

The Conference Board index decreased to 88.6 from a downwardly revised 92.9 reading in November, according to a report from the group Tuesday. That was below all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists that had called for 97. The gauge of expectations rose while a measure of sentiment about current conditions fell.

The unexpectedly downbeat reading amid record virus cases and deaths comes just as the potential for new vaccines drew greater focus, and may prove to be short-lived as federal-aid plans include individual stimulus payments that are imminent. Confidence is well below pre-pandemic levels despite making some gains in recent months. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was Dec. 14.

"Consumers' assessment of current conditions deteriorated sharply in December, as the resurgence of covid-19 remains a drag on confidence," Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in the statement.

The reading contrasts with another key measure of the country's outlook. The University of Michigan's gauge of U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly increased in early December to the second-highest level since March. However, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index has fallen for four straight weeks after rebounding since May.

The share of survey respondents who said they expected their incomes to increase edged up to 16.8 from 16, the board said.

Published : December 23, 2020

By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Julia Fanzeres