U.S. Consumer Confidence Surges on Improving Economic Outlook

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U.S. Consumer Confidence Surges on Improving Economic OutlookU.S. consumer confidence surged to its strongest level in over one year in September on optimistic view of the local economy in 2015, data released on Friday indicated.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s initial reading for consumer sentiment in September stood at 84.6, its strongest level since July 2013, compared with 82.5 in August. Economists in a Reuters survey had expected an average reading of 83.3.

“All of the early September gain was in the Expectations Index, while consumers judged current economic conditions slightly less favorably than in August,” said Richard Curtin, the survey director.”Although consumers anticipated a slowdown in employment growth, (they) expected the highest rate of growth in their wages in six years.”

The index of customer expectations rose to 75.6 compared with 71.3 in August. Analysts had expected 73.0. The measure of current economic conditions fell to 98.5 in September, compared with 99.8 in August and a projection of 100.

Meanwhile, U.S. retail sales also accelerated in August, easing speculation over the sluggish consumer spending. The Commerce Department reported that retail sales, which add to a third of total consumer spending, rose 0.6 percent in August. This compares with a gain of 0.3 percent in July. The increase was mainly attributed to increasing sales of automobile and other items.

Only sales of fuel products declined, though this highlighted the falling pump prices, which may free up income for spending in the next few months.

Core retail sales, which are adjusted for sales of fuel, automobiles, food services and building materials, rose 0.4 percent. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.

To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com