Economic Confidence Brightens In June

Economic Confidence Brightens In June

Americans are ready to put the pandemic behind them and embark on new, brighter times.

Raghavan Mayur
Raghavan Mayur

The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index, a leading measure of consumer confidence, rebounded after a slight dip in May.  The index rose 3.7 percent, recapturing the pandemic high of 56.4, which it had set in April, before falling back in May.

The index's reading of 56.4 in June keeps it in positive territory for the sixth consecutive month.  It also ties April's data for the highest reading since February 2020 (59.8), prior to the pandemic slump.

The confidence in June is 5.7% below the pre-pandemic level of Feb 2020.

The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index is the first monthly measure of consumer confidence. It accurately predicts monthly changes in sentiment in other well-known surveys conducted by The Conference Board and the University of Michigan.

Consumer spending drives two-thirds of the economy. Optimistic consumers spend money on automobiles, home improvements, new homes, and other large-ticket items.

The TIPP Economic Optimism Index is the most well-known of our TIPP indexes. Investor's Business Daily publishes the IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index every month.

Multiple factors are helping to keep the index and its components in the positive zone.

  • Many states have resumed normal operations and by the Fourth of July much of the country will be open with few restrictions.
  • Nearly one-half (46%) in our poll say that they are fully vaccinated, and another 17% have had their first shot.
  • Consumer perception has shifted significantly, and Americans are generally optimistic about putting the pandemic behind them.

TIPP Economic Optimism Index

This flagship Index has three equally weighted components.  For the index and its components, a reading above 50.0 signals optimism, and below 50.0 indicates pessimism.

In June, all three components of the index improved.

The Six-Month Economic Outlook, a measure of how consumers feel about the economy's prospects in the next six months, gained 4.5%, climbing from 53.2 in May to 55.6 in June.

The Personal Financial Outlook, a measure of how Americans feel about their finances in the next six months, improved 0.5%, rising from 57.0 in May to 57.3 this month.

Confidence in Federal Economic Policies, a proprietary IBD/TIPP measure of views on how government economic policies are working, increased 6.2% from 53.1 in May to 56.4 in June.  This is the highest reading for this component since the start of the pandemic.

Party Shift

After climbing from 32.8 in September 2020 to 73.8 in April 2021, over the last two months, Democrats' confidence dropped to 71.7.

Republicans improved slightly from 36.9 in May to 39.3 in June.

Independents posted their pandemic high of 49.0, sharply rising from 44.3 in May.

Momentum

Comparing a measure's short-term average to its long-term average is one way to detect its underlying momentum. For example, if the 3-month average is higher than the 6-month average, the indicator is bullish.  The same holds if the 6-month average exceeds the 12-month average.

Please see the chart below to see the level of optimism.  In all cases, the three-month moving average is greater than the six-month moving average.  And the six-month is greater than the twelve-month.

June's reading of all three components and the index are above their three-month moving averages.

Demographic Analysis

This month, 18 of the 21 demographic groups we track — such as age, income, education, and race — are above 50.0, indicating a positive reading on the Economic Optimism Index.

We've seen a steady improvement over the last few months, with 17 groups in the positive zone in May and April, 16 groups in March, 11 in February, and eight in January.

Fifteen groups rose this month on the index, compared to 7in May.

Recession

In June, more Americans said that we are in a recession. Those who think we are in a downturn dropped from 41% in April to 34% in May and rose to 40% in June.

And those who believed the economy was improving increased slightly in June by 2-points, after a slight pullback in May.

Most states are open for business and lockdowns are a thing of the past.  As the economy reopens, the employment situation is likely to improve.

The job market also appears to be improving, with an increasing number of businesses returning to full capacity and/or reopening.

The outlook for the next few months is promising as more Americans are vaccinated.

As a result, after an extremely turbulent year, Americans can hopefully begin to feel more optimistic.

TIPP surveyed 1,305 adults from May 26 to May 28 using an online survey of adults 18 or older nationwide.


TIPP Takes

Budapest Names Streets At Planned Chinese University After Uyghurs, Hong Kong

  • The liberal opposition mayor of Budapest announced he would rename streets in the Hungarian capital near a planned campus of a Chinese university to commemorate alleged human rights abuses by Beijing.
  • One street will be named after the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, labeled a dangerous separatist by Beijing.
  • Another will be called "Uyghur Martyrs' Road," after the primarily Muslim ethnic group that Washington and other capitals accuse of genocide by China.
  • A third will be called "Free Hong Kong Road." A fourth street will be renamed after a Chinese Catholic bishop who was jailed.
  • The renamed streets will converge on an area where China's Fudan University plans to open a campus.
  • According to a poll conducted by the liberal think tank Republikon Institute, 66% of Hungarians oppose and 27% support the idea of a Chinese university campus.

Military Chief Says Sudan Reviewing Naval Base Deal With Russia

  • General Mohammed Othman al-Hussein says negotiations are underway with Russian officials ‘to serve Sudan’s interests.’
  • Sudan’s military chief has said the country is reviewing an agreement to host a Russian naval base on its Red Sea coast.
  • The deal allows Russia to set up a naval base with up to 300 Russian soldiers and to simultaneously keep up to four navy ships, including nuclear-powered ones, in Port Sudan on the Red Sea.
  • In exchange, Russia is to provide Sudan with weapons and military equipment.
  • The agreement is to last for 25 years, with automatic extensions for 10-year periods if neither side objects to it.
  • The Kremlin said it had seen al-Hussein’s comments and that Moscow was in regular contact with Sudan and hoped it could resolve the situation.

The Myanmar Military’s Planned “intranet” Is Likely To Fail

  • A report by the International Crisis Group says that Myanmar’s military is developing a local intranet system to limit access to the internet.
  • The regime will control the service via Myanmar-based companies. It may allow some businesses to bypass the controls through a “dedicated internet access” connection if they agree to the military’s terms.
  • Since the coup, the military has gradually ramped up internet shutdowns and limited internet access to fiber data connections.
  • Most internet users in Myanmar access the web through mobile data, and only a fraction of the population has access to fiber data connections.
  • People in Myanmar have found ways to bypass many of these restrictions, mostly by relying on virtual private networks or VPNs.
  • In Myanmar, demand and internet searches for VPNs have increased significantly since the coup.

Cuttings of Prized SunGold Kiwifruits Were Smuggled To China And NZ Growers Are Divided Over What To Do About It

  • Kiwifruits are native to China, but it was New Zealand that perfected the golden variety found on supermarket shelves today.
  • SunGold kiwifruits are known for their tangy sweetness and bright yellow flesh. They're smooth in texture and have fewer seeds than their green counterparts.
  • New Zealand even has a kiwifruit regulator that makes decisions on all national issues pertaining to the little furry fruit. At the moment, there is one brewing between local growers, the owner of the SunGold copyright, and China.
  • Central to the story is Mr. Haoyu Gao, accused of smuggling cuttings of the prized SunGold to China's Sichuan province, enabling local farmers to cultivate several orchards of counterfeit plants.
  • Now New Zealand needs to decide how to deal with China — SunGold kiwifruit lover, customer, and "pirate."

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