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US consumer confidence up to 98.1 in June, above expectations: survey

The Conference Board on Tuesday said the lifting of lockdowns to stop the coronavirus pushed the US consumer confidence index above predictions to 98.1 in June. Similar improvement was seen in consumers' assessments of present conditions and future expectations, but The Conference Board warned the
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Washington (AFP) – The Conference Board on Tuesday said the lifting of lockdowns to stop the coronavirus pushed the US consumer confidence index above predictions to 98.1 in June.

Similar improvement was seen in consumers’ assessments of present conditions and future expectations, but The Conference Board warned the index remains weak, with activity below where it was before the pandemic.

Confidence was up from 85.9 in May, while the Present Situation Index improved from 68.4 to 86.2.

“The re-opening of the economy and relative improvement in unemployment claims helped improve consumers’ assessment of current conditions, but the Present Situation Index suggests that economic conditions remain weak,” said Lynn Franco, senior Director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

The expectations index measuring consumers’ short-term outlook for economic conditions increased to 106 from 97.6 in May, which Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said was above its average before the pandemic.

The percentage of people expecting business conditions to worsen in the next six months decreased, while those expecting it to improve held steady at 42.6 percent.

Moderate improvement was seen in consumers’ impressions of the job market and economy. Respondents saying business conditions are “good” jumped a point to 17.4, while the percentage of those saying jobs are “plentiful” went up more than four points to 20.8.

But whether any of this positivity can withstand the surge in coronavirus cases across the country, which has prompted some state and local authorities to reverse reopening measures, remains to be seen.

“Faced with an uncertain and uneven path to recovery, and a potential COVID-19 resurgence, it’s too soon to say that consumers have turned the corner and are ready to begin spending at pre-pandemic levels,” Franco said.

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