The University of Michigan Preliminary Consumer Sentiment for July came in at 97.1, down 1.1 from the June Final reading. Investing.com had forecast 98.1.

Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin, makes the following comments:

Consumer sentiment slipped in early July but remained nearly equal to the average in the prior twelve months (97.7) and since the start of 2017 (97.4). The continuing strength has been due to favorable job and income prospects, with consumers under age 45 anticipating the largest income gains since July 2000. So far, the strength in jobs and incomes has overcome higher inflation and interest rates. The darkening cloud on the horizon, however, is due to rising concerns about the potential negative impact of tariffs on the domestic economy. Negative concerns about the impact of tariffs have recently accelerated, rising from 15% in May, to 21% in June, and 38% in July (see the chart). Among those in the top third of the income distribution (who account for half of consumer spending), 52% negatively mentioned the impact of tariffs on the economy in early July. The primary concerns expressed by consumers were a decline in the future pace of economic growth and an uptick in inflation. Among those who expressed negative views of the tariffs, the Expectations Index was 30.5 points below those who made no mention of tariffs, and in addition, the expected inflation rate was six-tenths of a percentage point higher. While consumers may not understand the intricacies of trade theory, they have substantial experience making decisions about the timing of discretionary purchases based on prospective trends in prices. [More...]

See the chart below for a long-term perspective on this widely watched indicator. Recessions and real GDP are included to help us evaluate the correlation between the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index and the broader economy.

Michigan Consumer Sentiment

To put today's report into the larger historical context since its beginning in 1978, consumer sentiment is 13.0 percent above the average reading (arithmetic mean) and 14.3 percent above the geometric mean. The current index level is at the 85th percentile of the 487 monthly data points in this series.