US consumers grew far more confident than expected in July as trade tensions cooled and the outlook for jobs improved, according to a closely watched survey.
The Conference Board said Tuesday in a monthly report that its confidence index jumped to 135.7, up from 124.3 in June, to hit its highest level since November and retest an 18-year high of 137.9 set in October. The latest reading handily beat economists’ forecast of 125 in a Thomson Reuters poll.
The weakening in consumer confidence in June came amid an escalation in trade and tariff tensions, noted Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.
President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed at the end of last month to restart trade negotiations between the two countries. Mr Trump put off a fresh round of tariffs as part of the truce.
In July, consumers regained optimism over current business and labour market conditions, with the present situation index rising to 170.9 from 164.3. Consumers’ near-term outlook also improved, pushing the expectations index higher to 112.2 versus 97.6.
The survey found that 12.8 per cent said jobs are “hard to get”, compared with the prior month’s reading of 15.8 per cent.
“These high levels of confidence should continue to support robust spending in the near-term despite slower growth in GDP,” Ms Franco said in a statement.
The 10-year Treasury yield added to gains, rising 1.9 basis points to 2.074 per cent. The index tracking the dollar was up 0.1 per cent.