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Trump’s economy has US consumers brimming with confidence amid global gloom

Jonathan Garber

The American consumer is growing more confident while the rest of the world frets about its finances, according to a new survey.

The Ipsos Global Consumer Confidence Index slipped 0.1 point in December to 48.5, its lowest level in over two years. The drop extended the index’s three-month decline to 1 point, driven by a significant fall in 11 of 24 markets. The U.S. was one of only two countries, Hungary being the other, to record a significant increase over that time.

The data was collected Nov. 22 through Dec. 6, meaning the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the phase one trade deal with China had not yet been reached.

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“American consumer confidence is pretty strong and at very high levels,” Clifford Young, president of public affairs at Ipsos, told FOX Business, adding that the U.S. reading is at its highest level since the global financial crisis.

The fundamentals are just solid here,” he said. "You look around and things are going well.”

The U.S. index has climbed by 1.6 points over the past three months to 61.9, bolstered by strength in all four components (current situation, expectations, investment and jobs), but specifically the jobs index, which is up 3.1 points in that time.

The U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs in November as the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.5 percent, matching a 50-year low. That followed the addition of 193,000 and 156,000 positions in the prior two months.

The U.S. index hit a lull in the middle of 2019 after the yield curve -- a gauge of bond-market confidence -- inverted, igniting fears that a recession was just around the corner. But the economy rebounded after a soft patch, growing at a 2.1 percent annualized rate in the third quarter, according to a revised estimate from the Commerce Department.

Confidence in the U.S. remains strong, but is waning in most other places in the world. Mainland China (-2.4), Spain (-1.8) and France (-1.7) were among the countries that saw notable declines.

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“It's as if we've exported uncertainty, but we're insulated against uncertainty,” Young said.

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