US Macro Updates

The One Stop Portal for US Macroeconomic Data. Simplified and Summarized! 

We simplify and summarize key data so that you don’t have to spend hours reading confusing and long media releases. Read key economic releases and major events here in under 2 minutes. And we will explain the key takeaway for you. Stay informed and form a robust view on macroeconomic matters to aid your successful investment decisions

10th May 2024

Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index

Key takeaway: In a significant development, Consumer sentiment cratered in the month of May to 67.4 from 77.2 in the previous month of April. This was the intial reading and the final reading is released closer to the end of the month. Nonetheless, the sharp drop of 13% in the Sentiment Index is noteworthy. Economic news has mostly been negative in the recent months – higher inflation prints, job loss announcements, a weak April NFP announcement and a weak 1Q GDP print. All of these factors, coupled with the resultant interest rate uncertainty is making consumers nervous. The Index for Current Economic Conditions fell sharply as well from 79.0 to 68.8. Simiarly, the Index for Consumer Expectations fell from 76.0 to 66.5. Inflation expectations which had also sharply fallen in recent months have also paused their downward trend. One year inflation expectations ticked up from 3.2% to 3.5%.  This number is now once again well outside the pre-pandemic range of 2.3% to 3.0%. Long run inflation expectations also edged up from 3.0% to 3.1%. Long run inflation expectations have been relatively anchored throughout the past couple of years. These expectations still remain elevated compared to the 2.2% to 2.6% range seen right before the pandemic. 

12th Apr 2024

Key takeaway: Consumer sentiment has mostly plateaued over the past couple of months and has been moving sideways. The headline Index was slightly lower at 77.9. Similarly the Index for Current Economic Conditions was slightly lower at 79.3 and the Index for Consumer Expectations was mostly unchanged at 77.0. Final Index numbers for the previous month of March were mostly higher than the preliminary readings released earlier in the month. While inflation has come down from the peak of 2022, the progress has stalled and that is weighing on sentiment. The increased geo-political risks and the increase in oil price have also been additional factors contributing to the stalling of sentiment. Inflation expectations which had also sharply fallen in recent months have also paused their downward trend. One year inflation expectations ticked up a bit to 3.1%.  This number is still roughly within the pre-pandemic range of 2.3% to 3.0%. Long run inflation expectations also edged up from 2.8% to 3.0%. Long run inflation expectations have been relatively anchored throughout the past couple of years. These expectations still remain elevated compared to the 2.2% to 2.6% range seen right before the pandemic. 

15th Mar 2024

Key takeaway: After a string of positive economic data including strong overall economic growth and moderating inflation, we hit a bit of a roadblock in January and February this year with hotter-than-expected inflation prints and lower-than-expected retail sales prints. Given this backdrop, consumer sentiment has mostly plateaued over the past couple of months. The headline Index was mostly unchanged at 76.5. However, the February Index print had been revised down from 79.6 to 76.9 in the final release for the month. Similarly the Index for Current Economic Conditions was unchanged at 79.4 and the Index for Consumer Expectations was slightly down from 75.2 in February to 74.6 in March. Inflation expectations which had also sharply fallen in recent months paused their downward trend in February and were relatively unchanged in March. One year inflation expectations were unchanged at 3.0%.  This number is still inside the pre-pandemic range of 2.3% to 3.0%. Long run inflation expectations also remained at 2.9%. Long run inflation expectations have been relatively anchored throughout the past couple of years. These expectations still remain elevated compared to the 2.2% to 2.6% range seen right before the pandemic. 

16th Feb 2024

Key takeaway: After 2 months of sharp increases, Consumer Sentiment was essentially flat in February. The headline Index was mostly unchanged at 79.6. Similarly the Index for Current Economic Conditions was unchanged at 81.5 and the Index for Consumer Expectations was slightly up from 77.1 in January to 78.4 in February. Remember that December and January had been rather spectacular on both fronts – economic data and market expectations. Inflation had come down swiftly, inflation expectations had moderated, yields climbed down from their 2023 highs causing mortgage rates to fall and the consumer seemed to be still spending. That spree was somewhat halted this week by higher than expected CPI and PPI data for January. Inflation expectations which had also sharply fallen in recent months paused their downward trend in February. One year inflation expectations increased slightly from 2.9% to 3.0%.  However, key to note that this number is still inside the pre-pandemic range of 2.3% to 3.0% and the Fed will definitely be taking this development into account. Long run inflation expectations also remained at 2.9%. Long run inflation expectations have been relatively anchored throughout the past couple of years. These expectations still remain elevated compared to the 2.2% to 2.6% range seen right before the pandemic. 

16th Feb 2024

Key takeaway: After 2 months of sharp increases, Consumer Sentiment was essentially flat in February. The headline Index was mostly unchanged at 79.6. Similarly the Index for Current Economic Conditions was unchanged at 81.5 and the Index for Consumer Expectations was slightly up from 77.1 in January to 78.4 in February. Remember that December and January had been rather spectacular on both fronts – economic data and market expectations. Inflation had come down swiftly, inflation expectations had moderated, yields climbed down from their 2023 highs causing mortgage rates to fall and the consumer seemed to be still spending. That spree was somewhat halted this week by higher than expected CPI and PPI data for January. Inflation expectations which had also sharply fallen in recent months paused their downward trend in February. One year inflation expectations increased slightly from 2.9% to 3.0%.  However, key to note that this number is still inside the pre-pandemic range of 2.3% to 3.0% and the Fed will definitely be taking this development into account. Long run inflation expectations also remained at 2.9%. Long run inflation expectations have been relatively anchored throughout the past couple of years. These expectations still remain elevated compared to the 2.2% to 2.6% range seen right before the pandemic. 

19th Jan 2024

Key takeaway: Consumer sentiment shot up for the second month in a row in January. The last 2 months have been rather spectacular on both fronts – economic data and market expectations. Inflation has come down swiftly, inflation expectations have moderated, yields have climbed down from their 2023 highs causing mortgage rates to fall and the consumer seems to be still spending. It not much of a surprise to see the consumer sentiment index shoot up massively 2 months in a row. The Index has gone from 61.3 in November to 78.8 in January. While there have been numerous occasions in the past when we have had false starts on an improving inflation scenario, the current scenario is the strongest possibility of a soft landing. The index for current conditions also improved sharply from 73.3 to 83.3. Similarly, the index of consumer expectations rose from 67.4 to 75.9. Both these indexes are significantly above 2022 lows, but still lower than pre-pandemic levels. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, inflation expectations continued their sharp drop experienced in recent months. One year inflation expectations dropped further from 3.1% last month to 2.9% this month. This number is now inside the pre-pandemic range of 2.3% to 3.0% and the Fed will definitely be taking this development into account. Long run inflation expectations also dropped from 2.9% to 2.8%. Long run inflation expectations have been relatively anchored throughout the past couple of years. However, the figure of 2.8% was indeed outside the range of 2.9% to 3.1% seen in 26 of the last 30 months. These expectations still remain elevated compared to the 2.2% to 2.6% range seen right before the pandemic. 

8th Dec 2023

Key takeaway: After having fallen sharply for 4 months in a row, Consumer sentiment soared in the month of December. The Index for Consumer Sentiment improved a massive 13% from 61.3 to 69.4.While the consensus expectation was for the Index to improve, the outsized gain surprised everyone. While there have been numerous occasions in the past when we have had false starts on an improving inflation scenario, the current scenario is the strongest possibility of a soft landing and immaculate disinflation. The index for current conditions also improved sharply from 68.3 to 74.0. Similarly, the index of consumer expectations rose from 56.8 to 66.4. Both these indexes are significantly above 2022 lows, but still lower than pre-pandemic levels. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, one year ahead inflation expectations dropped sharply from 4.5% last month to 3.1% this month. This number now stands at the door step of the pre-pandemic range of 2.3% to 3.0% and the Fed will definitely be taking this development into account. Long run inflation expectations also dropped from 3.2 to 2.8%. Long run inflation expectations have been relatively anchored throughout the past couple of years.  

11th Nov 2023

Key takeaway: Consumer sentiment slipped once again in the November’s preliminary reading. The headline sentiment index has fallen now for 4 months in a row. After a dismal 2022, consumer and consequently investor sentiment was up and rising through most of 2023. However, it seems to have levelled off in the past few months. Gas prices had been rising at the pump and inflation has been re-accelerating again. The recent geo-political tensions also weigh on consumer sentiment and expectations for the future. In this backdrop, it is a bit less surprising that the index has fallen from 63.8 in October to 60.4 in November. The index for current conditions also fell sharply again from 70.6 to 65.7. Similarly, the index of consumer expectations fell from 59.3 to 56.9. Both these indexes are also significantly off their 2023 mid summer highs, but still above 2022 lows. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, one year ahead inflation expectations climbed up again (for a second month in a row) from 4.2% last month to 4.4% this month. While this development can be concerning, the consumer’s sentiment generally is quite volatile and influenced by short term developments. However, it is also key to note that long run inflation expectations also rose from 3.0 to 3.2%. Long run inflation expectations have been relatively anchored and any sustained breakout from the average range will be very concerning for markets and policy makers.  

13th Oct 2023

Key takeaway: Consumer sentiment slipped once again in the October preliminary reading. The headline sentiment index has fallen now for 3 months in a row. After a dismal 2022, consumer and consequently investor sentiment was up and rising through most of 2023. However, it seems to have levelled off in the past few months. Gas prices have been rising at the pump and inflation seems to be re-accelerating again. In this backdrop, it is a bit less surprising that the index has fallen from 68.1 in September to 63.0 in October. The index for current conditions also fell sharply from 71.4 to 66.7. Similarly, the index of consumer expectations fell from 66.0 to 60.7. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, one year ahead inflation expectations climbed up from 3.2% last month to 3.8% this month. Long run inflation expectations continue to be anchored and this has been the evidence across all other consumer surveys as well.  

15th Sep 2023

Key takeaway: Consumer sentiment slipped in September similar to August, but again by a similar marginal amount. After a dismal 2022, consumer and consequently investor sentiment was up and rising through most of 2023. However, it seems to have levelled off in the past few months. Gas prices have been rising at the pump and inflation seems to be re-accelerating again. The uncertainty in today’s economic climate reflects in both – the consumer and the investor. In the same spirit, Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index was quite unchanged in September (67.7). The indexes of Current Conditions fell a meaningful 6 points from 75.7 to 69.8. The index for Future Expectations was relatively unchanged. 1 year ahead inflation expectations edged down from 3.5% to 3.1%. This number is falling within striking distance of the 2.3% – 3.0% range seen prior to the pandemic. However, any re-acceleration of inflation will take this number back up again. Similarly, long run inflation expectations came in at 2.7% which is below the recent range of 2.9% to 3.1%.  

11th Aug 2023

Key takeaway: The uncertainty in today’s economic climate reflects in both – the consumer and the investor. Economic data has mostly been posting sideways in the recent past which creates uncertainty about where the world in headed over the next few months. Over the past few days CPI and PPI had both registered prints in line with consensus. In the same spirit, Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index was quite unchanged in August (71.2). The other indexes of Current Conditions and Future Expectations were also relatively unchanged. The overall consumer sentiment had improved substantially since the resolution of the debt ceiling drama in June. However, we now seem to have plateaued. 1 year ahead inflation expectations edged down marginally from 3.4% to 3.3%. However, this number is still above 2.3% – 3.0% range seen prior to the pandemic. Similarly, long run inflation expectations still remain well anchored in the 2.9% to 3.1% range. But are still elevated relative to the 2.2% to 2.6% range seen prior to the pandemic. 

14th Jul 2023

Key takeaway: The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index had registered a large drop in May – mostly attributable to the debt ceiling uncertainty and the continuing inflation story. However, June recorded a sharp rise back again in Consumer Sentiment. And that Sentiment Index further posted a significant gain in July. The Sentiment Index jumped from 64.4 in June to 72.6 in July. Apart from the resolution of the debt crisis and falling energy prices, the improvement in sentiment can also be attributed to the scaling back of inflation – which has been the key event over the past couple of months. The other indexes of Current Conditions and Future Expectations also improved substantially from June. The 1 year ahead inflation expectations at 3.4% was quite similar to June. Long term inflation expectations, on the other hand, remained range bound between 2.8% and 3.1%.

16th Jun 2023

Key takeaway: The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index had registered a large drop in May – mostly attributable to the debt ceiling uncertainty and the continuing inflation story. However, June recorded a sharp rise back again in Consumer Sentiment. The Sentiment Index jumped from 59.2 in May to 63.9 in June. The rise back similarly can be attributed to the eventual resolution of the debt ceiling crisis as well as the overall scale back in energy prices. The other indexes of Current Conditions and Future Expectations also improved from May. However, the most notable point of the June preliminary release was the sharp drop in 1 year ahead inflation expectations from 4.2% in May to 3.3% in June. The current reading is the lowest since March 2021. Recent favorable inflation prints have been adding to the general positive and risk on sentiment – both with consumers and market participants. Long term inflation expectations, on the other hand, remained range bound between 2.8% and 3.1%.

12th May 2023

Key takeaway: The preliminary reading of the May Michigan Consumer Survey was key for several reasons. Firstly, the trend in consumer sentiment which was on an upswing since mid 2022 was broken by a relatively large fall. Consumer sentiment fell from 63.5 in Apr to 57.7 in May – back to the levels of May 2022. The read was also much lower than consensus expectations of 63.0. There can be a number of factors attributable to this fall including the continuing inflation pinch as well as the uncertainty around the US debt ceiling. It might be incorrect to read too much into just one data point – but nonetheless, it is something that markets and policy makers will take note of. Similarly, the Indexes for Consumer Expectations (future business expectations) and Current Conditions also dived from previous months. While the one year ahead inflation expectations decreased slightly from 4.6% to 4.5%, it was still range bound similar to recent months. However, medium term inflation expectations (5 year) recorded a decent rise from 3.0% to 3.2%. 5 year inflation expectations had been fairly range bound in the 2.8% to 3.0% range and once again this is the first time since mid 2022 that the inflation expectations index has broken outside the 3% range.

14th Apr 2023

Key takeaway: Consumer sentiment was quite unchanged in Apr from Mar. Sentiment, in Mar, had fallen for the first time in the previous 4 months from 67.0 in Feb to 62.0 in Mar. This number remained relatively unchanged in the preliminary reading for April. It is interesting to note that this comes on the back of the SVB episode. Given the strength in the labor market, sentiment still remains significantly higher than 2022 lows. One year ahead inflation expectations rose significantly from 3.6% in Mar to 4.6% in April. While this large increase is concerning, the short run inflation expectations have been volatile and bounced around month to month. The latest Michigan reading though is also similar to the recently released NY Fed Consumer survey which had also shown a large increase in short run inflation expectations. Long run inflation expectations still remained fairly range bound within the tight range of 2.9% to 3.1% seen in the recent past. They still remain high compared to the pre-pandemic range of 2.3% – 2.6%.

17th Mar 2023

Key takeaway: Consumer sentiment fell for the first time in the past 4 months from 67.0 in Feb to 63.4 in Mar. What is key to note is that this drop in sentiment was recorded mostly before the SVB and ongoing banking turmoil. Nonetheless, even with the drop, consumer sentiment remained well above last year’s lows. One year ahead inflation expectations fell from 4.1% in Feb to 3.8% – the lowest reading since Apr 2021. Long run inflation expectations also broke slightly (2.8%) from the tight range of 2.9% to 3.1% seen in the recent past. They still remain high compared to the pre-pandemic range of 2.3% – 2.6%.

10th Feb 2023

Key takeaway: The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Data for Feb was a non-event. Well, almost. None of the indexes (consumer sentiment, current conditions or expectations) registered much of a change. However, the key point to note was that the year ahead inflation expectations bounced back up to 4.2% from 3.9% in Jan. Recall that the one year forward inflation expectations fell from 4.4% in Dec to 4.0% in Jan – a decline of 4 consecutive months.The Fed pays close attention to inflation expectations – both short term and long term. And hence a move in expectations is important. Long run inflation expectations though still remain well anchored in the 2.9% – 3.1% range – while still inflated compared to the 2.2%-2.6% range seen in the 2 years prior to the pandemic.

13th Jan 2023

Key takeaway: The Index of Consumer Sentiment jumped a substantial 5 points from 59.7 in Dec to 64.6 in Jan. Even though this number is still low compared to historical standards, it is a substantial jump nonetheless. Like I mentioned earlier, the resiliency of the US consumer has been a big thorn in the Fed’s path over the past year and to that extent the Fed does not like to see a substantial improvement in this number – at least in the present environment. But when coupled with the decline in near term inflation expectations and the recent soft retail sales number, a rise in the sentiment index becomes much more palatable to an inflation focused Fed. And inflation expectations on a forward 1 year basis have been moving sharply down. The one year forward inflation expectations fell from 4.4% in Dec to 4.0% in Jan – a decline of 4 consecutive months. Long term inflation expectations inched up slightly to 3.0% from 2.9%. But they have been in this narrow range for multiple months now, while still inflated compared to the 2.2%-2.6% range seen in the 2 years prior to the pandemic.

9th Dec 2022

Key takeaway: The Fed pays close attention to the Michigan Consumer Survey (among other such surveys of consumer behavior) and this has been clearly expressed by the Chair multiple times. While the sentiment index itself fluctuates widely since it is closely tied to gas prices at the pump, it also contains other clues to consumer’s expectation of inflation in the short, medium and long term. With the massive rate hiking cycle, consumer expectations of 1 year ahead inflation have been trending considerably down. Similarly, medium and long term expectations have been quite rangebound. This has been substantiated even in the recent NY Fed surveys. The sentiment index rose from 56.9 in November to 59.1 in December. The resiliency of the US consumer has been a big thorn in the Fed’s path over the past 9 months and to that extent the Fed does not like to see a substantial improvement in this number. But when coupled with the decline in near term inflation expectations and the recent soft retail sales number, a rise in the sentiment index becomes much more palatable to an inflation focused Fed.     

11th Nov 2022

Key takeaway: The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is closely tied to gas prices at the pump. With the recent rise in pump prices in October, it was not surprising to see the Consumer Sentiment Index drop from 58.9 to 54.7 – although it is indeed a bit of a steep drop. Similarly the index for current economic conditions fell as well. But the most important point of today’s release was the tick back up the long-run inflation expectations from 2.9% to 3.0%. To be clear, this number has remained in this range for some time now. Any break out from this range to the upside or downside would be a meaningful development. One year ahead inflation expectations also ticked higher from 5.0% to 5.1%. The Fed pays especially close attention to this survey’s results to gauge any signs of de-anchoring of inflation expectations. The rise in inflation expectations over the medium and long term was also seen in the recent NY Fed Consumer surveys.    

14th Oct 2022

Key takeaway: Once again, the Michigan Consumer Index is closely tied to gas prices at the pump. With the recent levelling off in pump prices, it was not surprising to see the Consumer Sentiment Index tick up a bit from 58.6 to 59.8. Similarly the index for current economic conditions improved as well. But what was slightly more concerning was median expected 1 year ahead inflation rate rose from 4.9% to 5.0%. Long run expectations which had declined in the previous months surveys also inched up. Like I had mentioned before, the Fed pays close attention to this survey’s results and they wont like what they see. The rise in inflation expectations over the medium and long term was also seen in the recently released NY Fed Consumer survey.    

16th Sep 2022

Key takeaway: This month’s Michigan Consumer survey findings were a non-event. Well, almost! We know that US consumer sentiment is closely tied to gas prices at the pump and gas prices have fallen since the June highs. So it is no surprise that consumer sentiment has steadily gotten better. The Index was kind of unchanged in September. Inflation expectations amongst consumers has fallen as well. Remember that the FOMC does focus a lot on the UMich Survey and they will still be relived to see long run expectations well anchored (in fact they fell to 2.8% – thats below the 2.9% to 3.1% range since July 2021). The U Mich Survey results were quite similar to the NY Fed Survey of Inflation expectations that came out a few days earlier. However, as inflation takes a bite out of everyone’s paycheck, people are also starting to expect home prices to fall and their ability to repay debt to come under pressure!   

12th Aug 2022

Key takeaway: US consumer sentiment is closely tied to gas prices at the pump. So it is no surprise that consumer sentiment got a big boost in July. But this reading becomes important because of other factors as well. First of all, because this comes on the back of very positive news over the last couple of weeks on both inflation as well as corporate earnings. The important NY Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations, just a few days back, also showed a big improvement in consumers’ outlook on inflation. Even the 5 year 5 year forward inflation rate moderated from a high of 2.67% in mid April to 2.09% in late July.   

15th Jul 2022

Key takeaway: The US consumers’ opinions and expectations conveyed through the Michigan survey have special importance in macro context these days. Chair Powell had specifically referenced the Michigan survey in his last FOMC meeting comments. Even though the readings for the survey remain close to or at all-time lows, there were some positives from this report. The most important being toning down of consumers’ inflation expectations. The survey showed consumers expect inflation to run at 2.8% over a five-year period, the lowest in a year and down from 3.1% in June. Their one-year outlook for price increases moderated to 5.2% from 5.3% a month earlier and was the lowest since February 2022. At the same time, while this is some relief, it does not take 75 basis points off the table for the July Fed meeting.   

10th Jun 2022

Key takeaway: The Consumer Sentiment time series chart is a must see today. The sentiment index is the lowest since 1980! There are a couple of more points to note though in this index of sentiment gloom. First, we always have to recognise that sentiment is heavily influenced by current circumstances (i.e. the war, inflation, etc) and can change with changing circumstances. But second and more important, consumers’ expectations of inflation in one year as well as over the next 5 years is changing. The Fed relies heavily on expectations being anchored and believes that has been a key attribute of successful inflation control in the post Volcker era.  

13th May 2022

Key takeaway: Recall the Michigan Consumer Sentiment index had  unexpectedly improved in April. We had stated then that it was too early to state that consumer confidence is on an upswing with just a one month move. True to that assessment, the consumer sentiment index is back down significantly. At 59.1, it is the lowest since 2011. Right now, the only thing that stands between us and a recession is the US consumer. And hence consumer sentiment is such an important indicator of things to come. And, as mentioned before, the Fed keeps a close eye on this metric of the Consumer Survey. 

14th Apr 2022

Key takeaway: The Consumer Sentiment index unexpectedly improved in April. Too early though to state that consumer confidence is on an upswing. But more importantly, consumer expectations of longer term inflation still remained well anchored. And the Fed does keep on eye on this metric of the Consumer Survey. 

11th Mar 2022

Key takeaway: The Consumer Sentiment Index reading at 59.7 was the lowest since 2011. The Current Conditions Index at 67.8 was the lowest since 2009. The measure for Consumer Expectations was 54.4, lowest since 2011. Overall, pretty gloomy numbers. Two things to note – First, the war situation and spiking oil prices does play into the expectations in the survey – so lower numbers can be expected. Second, and importantly, if these index readings stay low going forward, it can very well be a leading indicator of a worsening economy.