October consumer sentiment falls shy of expectations, but confidence in economic policy is at a 15-year high

Key Points
  • Consumer sentiment in October falls just short of expectations.
  • The University of Michigan's survey finds American confidence in U.S. economic policy is at a 15-year high.
  • The survey considers 500 consumers' outlook on economic prospects.
Consumer sentiment index at 99.0 versus 100 estimate

A survey of consumer sentiment in October fell just short of expectations on Friday but found American confidence in U.S. economic policy was at a 15-year high.

The University of Michigan's monthly survey of consumers hit 99 in its preliminary reading for October, below the 100.4 expected from economists polled by Reuters. The index remained just below September's reading of 100.1.

"Consumer sentiment slipped in early October, although it remained at quite favorable levels and just above the average reading during 2018," Richard Curtin, chief economist for the survey, said in a statement.

Within the survey, a key data point revealed growing bipartisan support for the government's economic policies.

"Confidence in the government's economic policies rose in October to its highest level in the past fifteen years (see the chart), reflecting the strong performance of the national economy," Curtin said. "Most of the October gain was due to an upward adjustment by Democrats, although their evaluations were still well below the much more favorable evaluations of Republicans."

The overall index has slumped since March when it reached its highest level since 2004 with a reading of 101.4.

The survey considers 500 consumers' outlook on economic prospects, accounting for sentiment on personal finances, inflation, unemployment, government policies and interest rates.

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US import prices increase 0.5% on a jump in fuel costs

Key Points
  • U.S. import prices jumped faster than expected in September amid resurgent energy prices but prices excluding fuels were unchanged.
  • The Labor Department said on Friday import prices rose 0.5 percent last month. That was the largest increase since May and followed a revised 0.4 percent decrease in August.
  • Import prices were previously reported to have fallen 0.6 percent in August. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices rising 0.2 percent in September.