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Updated: U.S. Consumer Confidence Rises To 101.3 In March

By Kitco News
Tuesday March 31, 2014 10:00 AM

Editor's Note: The article was updated to include more information from the report and comments from CIBC.

(Kitco News) - U.S. consumer confidence rose this month, reversing most fo the weakness reported in February, according to the latest data from the U.S. Conference Board.

Tuesday, the board said its monthly Consumer Confidence Index rose to101.3, from February’s revised reading of 98.8. According to consensus forecasts, economists were expecting to see a slight increase to a reading of 96.6.

“Consumer confidence improved in March after retreating in February. This month’s increase was driven by an improved short-term outlook for both employment and income prospects; consumers were less upbeat about business conditions. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions declined for the second consecutive month, suggesting that growth may have softened in Q1, and doesn’t appear to be gaining any significant momentum heading into the spring months,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

Looking at some of the components of the report, currency conditions were slightly lower coming in at 109.1, down from the previously revised reading of 112.1; at the same time expectations index was slightly higher coming in at 96.0, up from the revised reading of 90.0.

The employment was slightly mixed as the survey indicated that people anticipated more jobs in future months. however the jobs hard to get index rose to 25.4, up from the revised reading of 25.1.

Although consumer confidence remains above pre-recession levels, it still hasn’t filtered through to the broader economy. Economists have been expecting to see a pickup in consumer spending as a result of optimistic consumers.

"A more confident U.S. consumer should eventually lead to greater spending, although the intentions components of today’s data suggest a rather mixed outlook," said Andrew Grantham, senior economist at CIBC.

While the data is promising, he added that consumers are sitll unwilling to part with their hard-earned money.

Monday the U.S. Commerce Department said that personal spending only increased by 0.1% in February, below expectations of a 0.2% rise. At the same time personal income climbed by 0.4%, above consensus forecasts of 0.3%. Earlier in the month, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that advance retail sales fell 0.6% in February.3

By Neils Christensen of Kitco News; nchristensen@kitco.com
Follow Neils Christensen @neils_C



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in precious metal products, commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.
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