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Consumer Sentiment  
Released On 4/17/2009 9:55:00 AM For Apr(p), 2009
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Sentiment Index - Level57.3 58.5 58.0  to 61.0 61.9 

Signs of life are appearing in consumer attitudes, offering a hint that the deepest part of the recession may be passing. Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose solidly to 61.9 vs. 57.3 two weeks ago. Interestingly, one-year inflation expectations shot up 1 full percentage point to 3.0 percent. Gas prices are on the rise, as they typically are as the driving season begins, but the gain also hints that consumers expect economic conditions to normalize. There may also be a hint that some consumers could be anticipating monetary inflation, certainly a factor that has fed investment demand for gold and oil.

Details of the report show a particular rise in the expectations component, again an indication that consumers may now believe the worst has passed. The current conditions component also improved. Five-year inflation expectations edged 1 tenth higher to 2.7 percent. The 5-year reading never really buckled, dipping to 2.6 percent vs. a 1.6 percent low for the 1-year reading. Still, consumer spirits remain near historic lows though they are moving in the right direction. Markets showed no significant reaction to the report, at least initially. But the results could help raise appetite for risk through the session.

Consensus Outlook
The Reuter's/University of Michigan's Consumer sentiment index edged slightly higher in March to 57.3. The latest uptick was due to the expectations component as current currents fell back. Recent readings remain near historic lows. Inflation expectations for one year out, however, edged up to 2.0 percent from 1.9 percent in February.

The University of Michigan's Consumer Survey Center questions 600 households each month on their financial conditions and attitudes about the economy. Consumer sentiment is directly related to the strength of consumer spending. Consumer confidence and consumer sentiment are two ways of talking about consumer attitudes. Among economic reports, consumer sentiment refers to the Michigan survey while consumer confidence refers to The Conference Board's survey. Preliminary estimates for a month are released at mid-month. Final estimates for a month are released near the end of the month.  Why Investors Care
Consumer sentiment is mainly affected by inflation and employment conditions. However, consumers are also impacted by current events such as bear & bull markets, geopolitical events such as war and terrorist attacks. Investors monitor consumer sentiment because it tends to have an impact on consumer spending over the long run (although not necessarily on a monthly basis.)

2009 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/161/302/132/273/133/274/175/15/155/296/126/267/107/248/14
Release For: JanJanFebFebMarMarAprAprMayMayJunJunJulJulAug
Released On: 8/289/119/2510/1610/3011/1311/2512/1112/23
Release For: AugSepSepOctOctNovNovDecDec

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