In April, US Conference Board’s consumer confidence rebounded slightly after a significant worsening in sentiment in March. The headline index rose from an upwardly revised 63.8 to 65.4, while the consensus was looking for a slightly softer (64.5) outcome. Looking at the details, consumers became more optimistic about both the present situation (39.6 from 37.5) and expectations (82.6 from 81.3) and also the labour differential increased (from -39.8 to -36.6). After a sharp increase in inflation expectations in March, inflation expectations for the next 12 months eased somewhat in April (from 6.7% to 6.3%). After a significant worsening in sentiment in March, the index recovered somewhat in April as the labour market situation brightened and concerns over increasing inflationary pressures eased somewhat.
The US Richmond Fed manufacturing index fell for a second consecutive month in April. The headline index dropped from 20 to 10, the lowest level since November last year, while stabilization was expected. The deterioration in business sentiment is confirmed by the details, which show a significant decline in shipments (6 from 23), new orders (10 from 20), order backlog (-18 from 8) and capacity utilization (2 from 14), while number of employees (14 from 16) and average workweek (7 from 10), showed a more moderate decline. Only vendor lead time (18 from 16) and wages (22 from 19) improved in April. Price data show a pessimistic picture too as price paid continued to accelerate (4.81 from 4.61), while prices received eased (2.60 from 3.01), indicating that firms are having difficulties to pass through price increases. The forward looking index weakened too. After already a significant worsening in the Philly Fed manufacturing index, this outcome provides further evidence that the momentum is slowing in the US manufacturing sector after a strong start of the year.
S&P Case Shiller home prices fell for the eighth consecutive month in February. On a monthly basis, home prices dropped by 0.18% M/M, while the consensus was looking for a decline by 0.40% M/M. The annual figure, on the contrary, came out close to expectations falling by 3.33% Y/Y, while a drop by 3.30% Y/Y was forecasted. US house prices are now down by the most in more than one year, indicating that the housing market remains fragile despite the signs of improvement last year.