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UMich Consumer Confidence Slips To 7-Month Lows As Hope Fades

Despite modestly beating expectations, UMich consumer sentiment for June dropped to 95.1 - the lowest since Nov 2016 - led by a collapse in 'hope' for the future.

Inflation expectations for the medium-term fell very modestly but both short- and medium-term remain near record lows.

Personal finance expectations improved in June as did the percentage of Americans expecting higher incomes. However, the percentage of Americans who expect a comfortable retirement dropped notably... and the percentage of Americans who expect the country to have contonuous good times for the next 12 months also tumbled.

The survey shows a widening divide between how Americans view the current state of the economy and prospects for a potential extra boost from Congress and the White House, as lawmakers wrangle over health care and taxes. While 51 percent of all consumers reported recent improvement in their finances -- the highest share since 2000 -- Republicans are becoming less sanguine about the situation in Washington, according to the report.

For the first time since the election, a bigger share of consumers expected a downturn in the next five years than an uninterrupted expansion. Even so, the average level of sentiment in the first half was the best in 16 years, which supports the household spending that accounts for 70 percent of the economy.

The partisan divide still meant that June's Sentiment Index of 95.1 was nearly equal to both the average (95.7) between the optimism of Republicans and the pessimism of Democrats and the value for Independents (94.6). Surprisingly, the optimism among Republicans and Independents has largely resisted declines in the past several months despite the decreased likelihood that Trump's agenda will be passed in 2017.

“Increasing uncertainty about future prospects for the economy has thus far been offset by the recent strength in jobs and incomes,” Richard Curtin, director of the University of Michigan consumer survey, said in a statement. “The data provide no indication of an imminent downturn nor do the data provide any indication of a resurgent boom in spending.”