January 17, 2009

Consumer Confidence up as Obama arrives in Washington

POLITICS - President Barack Obama arrived in Washington by train today, retracing the path Abraham Lincoln took in 1861.

Meanwhile United States consumer confidence rose in January but remained at comparatively depressed levels, with expectations of a deep and long recession persisting.

The University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said its preliminary index reading of confidence for January rose to 61.9 from December's 60.1. The index was almost 3 points above economists' forecasts of 59.0. The results is the highest since 70.3 in September 2008.

However, "consumer confidence continued to hover near its half-century low, showing no signs of significant change during the past six months," the report said.

One-year inflation expectations rose in January to 2% from 1.7% in December. The uptick was due to expectations of rising gasoline prices in the coming year, the report said, but with the current deflation of oil prices the prices of products should come down a bit.

Economic expectations could improve further after U.S. President-elect Barack Obama takes office, the report added. "If Obama's economic policies receive widespread public support and are promptly enacted – as is now anticipated – consumer confidence could post some anticipatory increases even as actual economic conditions continue to worsen."

When he arrived in Washington today Barack Obama pledged to help bring the nation “a new Declaration of Independence” and promising to rise to the stern challenges of the times.

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