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U.S. Consumer Sentiment Holds Steady in May

– U.S. consumer sentiment was unchanged in May, according to a report published on Friday.

The preliminary publication of the data for May from the University of Michigan's Consumer Survey Center showed that consumer sentiment held steady at 98.8 last month.

Analysts had forecast a drop to 98.5.

The current conditions indicator decreased to 113.3 in May, from the previous 114.9.

Economists had projected that the index would rise to 115.7.

Additionally, consumer expectations unexpectedly increased to 89.5 in May, from the prior reading of 88.4.

That beat consensus that had expected a decline to 88.0.

Meanwhile, inflation expectations for the next 12 months increased to 2.8% from 2.7%, while the five-year gauge held steady at the previous 2.5%.

The survey’s chief economist Richard Curtin indicated that the data will provide some additional points for both sides in the debate about the timing and number of future interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

According to the date, eight out of every 10 consumers anticipated interest rate hikes during the year ahead, and fewer consumers anticipated further declines in the unemployment rate, instead expecting joblessness to stabilize.

“Consumers have a remarkable track record for anticipating changes in the actual unemployment rate,” Curtin commented.

“Overall, the data are consistent with a growth rate of 2.7% in real personal consumption from the second half of 2018 to first half of 2019,” he concluded.

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