report from the University of Michigan revealed on Friday the preliminary
reading for the Reuters/Michigan index of consumer sentiment tumbled 13.5
percent m-o-m to 70.2 in early August. This was the lowest reading since December
Economists had expected the index would come in at 81.2 this month, unchanged from July’s final reading.
According to the report, the index of current U.S. economic conditions plunged 7.8 percent m-o-m to 77.9 in August from 84.5 in the previous month. Meanwhile, the index of consumer expectations plummeted 17.5 percent m-o-m to 65.2 this month from 79.0 in July.
According to Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin, the losses in early August were widespread across income, age, and education subgroups and observed across all regions and covered all aspects of the economy, from personal finances to prospects for the economy, including inflation and unemployment. “There is little doubt that the pandemic's resurgence due to the Delta variant has been met with a mixture of reason and emotion,” Curtin said. “Consumers have correctly reasoned that the economy's performance will be diminished over the next several months, but the extraordinary surge in negative economic assessments also reflects an emotional response, mainly from dashed hopes that the pandemic would soon end. In the months ahead, it is likely that consumers will again voice more reasonable expectations, and with control of the Delta variant, shift toward outright optimism.”
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