US consumer confidence decreased in January, for the first time in four months. Americans changed their views on economic and labor market prospects: more consumers planning to buy houses, cars and other other high-priced products, although their optimism about business and labor market conditions has reduced in the near term.
US consumer confidence dceclines
According to a Conference Board report on Tuesday, US consumer confidence fell to 113.8 from a downwardly revised 115.2 in December. Economists had expected a drop to 111.
The figures mean fewer consumers are expecting the economy to improve, incomes to rise and new jobs to appear in the next six months.
At the same time, Americans were more optimistic about current business conditions. The percentage of respondents who consider conditions favourable rose to a six-month high, and shopping plans strengthened.
Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board in Washington said that the current conditions index had improved, suggesting that the economy had entered 2022 on solid footing. She noted that expectations for short-term growth prospects had weakened, indicating a likely slowdown in the first quarter of 2022.
The Conference Board's expectations index fell to 90.8 from 95.4, while the current conditions indicator improved to a five-month high of 148.2.
Franco also added that the percentage of consumers planning to buy houses, cars and large appliances in the next six months had increased. The drop in confidence likely indicates an increase in COVID-19 infections.
According to official data, an average of 696,541 new coronavirus cases are reported daily in the United States. The winter wave of infections caused by the Omicron variant is likely to subside in some regions, including hardest-hit New York.
As for business conditions, news of mergers and super profits for companies in 2021 affect consumer opinion. However, the situation is pessimistic concerning consumption.
In fact, inflation is the reason for it. The traditional way to secure from inflation is buying real estate, cars, etc. as soon as possible.
Besides, consumer activity with considerable growth of prices is not considered positive, especially taking into account Goldman Sachs outlook to decrease the economic indicators for the first half of 2022.
In the meantime, this news certainly will not be favourable for the indices.