Consumer sentiment in US hits 15-year high: report

Consumer confidence reached a 15-year high in April as U.S. adults feel more optimistic about the prospects of the U.S. economy than any year recorded since 2004.

Reuters reported Friday that the University of Michigan’s consumer confidence index increased by 5.3 percentage points in April to 102.4, while a separate poll of U.S. economists by Reuters reportedly returned a confidence reading of 97.5.

{mosads}Economists warn, however, that those readings were taken before last Friday’s decision by the White House to hike tariffs on all goods imported from China to 25 percent, a move that sparked quick retribution from Beijing in the form of tariffs on U.S. goods.

Such measures could blunt confidence in a steady economy, experts told Reuters, as the Trump administration seeks to reach a deal with Chinese negotiators on trade issues such as the growing U.S.-China trade deficit and trade practices that U.S. officials deem unfair.

Talks between Chinese negotiators and their U.S. counterparts appeared to stall last week with the implementation of further tariffs by the Trump administration, and this week the ruling Chinese Communist Party appeared to accuse the U.S. of attempting “little tricks” to change the “atmosphere” of the trade negotiations.

“We can’t see the U.S. has any substantial sincerity in pushing forward the talks. Rather, it is expanding extreme pressure,” read a blog post republished by a state newspaper on Friday. “If the U.S. ignores the will of the Chinese people, then it probably won’t get an effective response from the Chinese side.”

Different consumer confidence indexes show different scores when measuring U.S. residents’ thoughts about the economy, and economists at the Conference Board announced last year that their organization’s consumer confidence index had registered the highest level of confidence in almost 18 years last September.

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