- Consumer confidence stable at historically elevated levels
- First quarter GDP, personal spending support consumer optimism
- Labor market underpins household consumption
The Conference Board will issue its Consumer Confidence Index for April at 10:00 am EDT, 14:00 pm GMT on Tuesday April 30th.
The Consumer Confidence Index from the business organization the Conference Board is expected to increase to 126.0 in April form 124.1 in March. The Present Situation Index was at 160.6 in March down from 172.8 in February. The Expectations Index registered 99.8 last month lower than the 103.8 score in February.
American economic growth accelerated in the first quarter. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on Friday that its advance estimate for annualized gross domestic product was 3.2%, a step up from the 2.2% in the fourth quarter. The consensus estimate had been 2.0%. The GDP figures will be revised twice on April 26th and May 30th.
Retail sales in March rose 1.6% much faster than the 0.9% forecast and the GDP destined control group, jumped 1.0% more than twice the 0.4% prediction. The three month moving average in control was 0.8%, the highest since April 2014.
Durable goods orders in March were also strong coming in at 2.7% more than triple the 0.8% expectation. Business spending in capital goods, the nondefense ex-aircraft category in durable goods grew 1.3%, ending the best three months since last August.
Personal consumption increased 0.9% in March the largest one month gain in household spending in almost a decade, since September 2009.
The excellent job market is behind the rise in consumption and it operates a loop back to economic growth through the impact of increasing consumer demand on business outlook and production. As long as people are confident of their employment, current and future, as long as wages are rising the 70% of the US economy that derives from consumer spending will remain healthy.
Given the performance of the US economy over the past two years it is not surprising that the consumer confidence readings have been some of the best in two decades.
In the 52 year history of this series there have been only two periods when consumer optimism reached and sustained such high levels. Taking the two year moving average of 126.33 in March as a guide, Americas have been this satisfied only twice, from September 1998 to October 2001, and in the earliest reading at the start of the survey from February 1967 to June 1970.
Conference Board sentiment broke through the post-recession high of 103.80 (January 2015) in November 2016 and has remained above the pre-recession high of 111.90 (July 2007) since February 2017.
Sentiment reached an 18 year high at 137.90 in October 2018 and slipped the next month to 136.40. By December it had fallen to 126.6. The partial shutdown of the federal government for most of January garnered the weakest reading in 16 months 121.70. The recovery to 131.4 in February was followed by another drop to 124.10 in March.
The forecast of 126.0 in April, would place it just above the 124.75 midpoint of the 111.60 -137.90 post-election range. With the robust American economic background it is hard to find any reason to expect less.
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