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US consumer sentiment weakens in December

U.S. consumer sentiment weakened in early December amid a decline in perceptions of the long-term prospects for the economy, preliminary results of a University of Michigan survey showed.

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index fell 1.7% to 96.8 this month from 98.5 in November and decreased 1.4% from a year earlier.

The measure of current economic conditions rose 2.1% on a monthly basis to 115.9 in December, while the consumer expectations index dropped 4.8% to 84.6.

"Most of the recent decline was concentrated in the long-term prospects for the economy, while consumers thought current economic conditions have continued to improve," said Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist.

Curtin said the largest decline in long-term economic prospects was recorded among Democrats, reflecting their concerns about the impact of the proposed changes in taxes.

Expectations of greater income and a higher inflation rate in 2018 were recorded in early December, Curtin said. Buying plans for durables also improved due to attractive pricing.

Overall, the survey data signal an expected gain of 2.7% in real consumption expenditures in 2018, according to Curtin.