Perceptions and Realities

By Isaac Cohen*

President Donald Trump’s first 100 days have seen a surge in the stock market and in consumer confidence. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index increase of 5 percent is the biggest for any President, after the first 100 days of President George Bush Sr. in 1989, with an increase of 7.7 percent in the stock market. Additionally, according to the University of Michigan, in April consumer confidence index about the future of the US economy remained at 97, almost the same as 96.9 in March and an increase of 9 percent since April 2016. Therefore, both consumers and markets received positively the campaign promises of less regulation, lower taxes and more infrastructure spending.

However, analysts distinguish between soft and hard data, with indicators of confidence considered soft, while those measurements of economic behavior, such as consumer spending, are considered hard data.

For instance, the last figure on economic growth in the first quarter of this year, released by the Department of Commerce, revealed a meager increase of 0.7 percent, which contradicts the positive outlook revealed by the confidence indicators. Also, this contradiction is worrisome because the slowdown in growth was caused by a slight annual increase of 0.3 percent in spending by consumers, who represent two thirds of the economy.

*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO and other media. Former Director, UNECLAC Washington.

About Ramón Jiménez

Ramón Jiménez, Managing Editor de MetroLatinoUSA.Com (MLN). Graduado de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad del Distrito de Columbia (UDC). Email: [email protected]

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