Rob Carnell, Chief International Economist at ING, suggests that the US consumer confidence drops sharply, but housing data still firm. Key Quotes “The Conference Board measure of US consumer confidence for February dipped sharply, with the headline index dropping to 92.2, its lowest since July 2015. The most worrying element of this survey is the sub-index detailing expectations, which has an unusually good correlation with real consumer spending. As such, the drop in that index from 85.3 to 78.9 is a bit concerning. In August last year, the index stood at a recent high of 91.6. The jobs plentiful index was also a little more downbeat, dropping to -2.1. This though is a choppy index and an unreliable guide to payrolls or the unemployment rate. But it is the sixth consecutive negative reading, so perhaps we ought not to write it off too quickly. But other data on the US housing market were satisfactory – with house price data suggesting stability at a rate between 5% and 6% YoY, and existing home sales also holding up well, despite expectations for a correction, and reading between the lines of the US economy is still very hard to do. In short, the evidence for a much more negative story on the US economy has not really gained any ground over the last month, but a more optimistic story is equally hard to generate. Keep watching this space. In the meantime, although it seems hard to justify, there is no additional evidence for stripping out our final remaining forecast Fed rate hike for this year – though we will keep looking for excuses to do so.” For more information, read our latest forex news.