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Consumer Sentiment:  Decline Amid Trade Concerns, Level Still Strong

April 13, 2018
Bottom Line: Consumer sentiment fell sharply in the preliminary reading taken in the first half of April. The survey noted: “Spontaneous references to trade policies were made by 29% of all consumers in early April, with nearly all the mentions negative (27% out of 29%).” Additionally, the decline in sentiment was seen across demographics, where in the previous report there had been a decline in mostly higher income household sentiment. The level of consumer sentiment remains historically quite high -- that said, it is only slightly above year ago levels, having jumped and mostly been sideways since the November 2016 US presidential election. The expectations component has been driving much of the loss in momentum -- and that fell again in this preliminary April reading.

Consumer Sentiment FELL by 1.9 points in early March to 97.8%, compared with market expectations for an increase to 100.4%.

Despite this month's slight decline, sentiment is now 0.9% ABOVE its year ago level.

Current Conditions ROSE by 0.1 points to 115.0%. This is 1.6% ABOVE their year ago level. Consumer Expectations FELL by 3.2 points to 86.8%. Despite this month's modest decline, expectations are 0.3% ABOVE its year ago level.

1-year ahead inflation expectations were lower at 2.7%, while 5-year expectations were down -0.1% at 2.40%