US consumer sentiment dips in August; inflation expectations improve

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumer sentiment dipped in August, but Americans expected inflation to edge lower over the next year and beyond, a survey showed on Friday.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary reading on the overall index of consumer sentiment came in at 71.2 this month compared to 71.6 in July. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a preliminary reading of 71.0.

“In general, consumers perceived few material differences in the economic environment from last month, but they saw substantial improvements relative to just three months ago,” Joanne Hsu, the director of the University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers, said in a statement.

The survey’s reading of one-year inflation expectations slipped to 3.3% this month from 3.4% in July, showing stability for three consecutive months. The five-year inflation outlook fell to 2.9% from 3.0% in the prior month, remaining in the narrow 2.9%-3.1% range for 24 of the last 25 months.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)