U.S. consumer sentiment slips again but inflation outlook improves

(Reuters) – U.S. consumer sentiment edged lower for a second straight month in September but their economic outlook brightened modestly as household expectations for near-term inflation fell to the lowest in more than a year, a survey released on Friday showed.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary reading of its Consumer Sentiment Index dropped to 67.7 this month from a final reading of 69.5 in August. That was below the median forecast of 69.1 among economists polled by Reuters.

The survey’s barometer of current economic conditions fell, but its gauge of consumer expectations edged higher.

“Both short-run and long-run expectations for economic conditions improved modestly this month, though on net consumers remain relatively tentative about the trajectory of the economy,” survey director Joanne Hsu said in a statement.

The survey’s one-year inflation expectation fell to 3.1% – the lowest since March 2021 – from 3.5%, while the five-year inflation outlook slid to a one-year low of 2.7% from 3.0%.

(Reporting By Dan Burns; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)