James Knightley, Senior Economist at ING, suggests that a surprise drop in US confidence may mean rising gasoline prices and unsettling politics is offsetting the benefits from a robust jobs market and the equity market rebound. Key Quotes “University of Michigan confidence fell in March to 90.0 from 91.7 in February versus expectations of a rise to 92.2. Both the current conditions and the expectations components dropped, which was disappointing given the rebound in equities and the strength in the labour market. It could partially be down to the rise in gasoline prices from around US$1.70/gallon as the mid-point for the national average for February versus US$1.97/gallon as it stood yesterday (AAA data). It’s possible that politics may also be weighing on sentiment given the preponderance of negative sound-bites. Nonetheless, we expect consumer spending to hold up given positive real wage growth and rising employment. Interestingly 1Y & 5-10Y inflation expectations rose to 2.7%, which is supportive of the Fed rate hike story.” For more information, read our latest forex news.