U.S. consumer sentiment rose to a nine-month high in April on better assessment of consumers' current financial situation, a survey showed on Friday.
The final reading of the consumer sentiment index in April rose to 84.1 from 80.0 in March, reaching the highest level since July 2013, the monthly Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey of consumers showed.
"While near term expectations have improved substantially, longer term expectations for personal finances as well as the overall economy have remained unchanged from a year ago," said Richard Curtin, director of the survey and economist with the University of Michigan, in a statement.
The survey said the proportion who reported worsening finances dropped to 28 percent in April from 37 percent in March, the lowest level since the April 2007. Unfortunately, the strong gains did not encourage more optimism for the year ahead, expressed by 32 percent in April, down from 33 percent last month.
"The most important issue is whether consumers will show greater resistance to the backslides that have repeatedly occurred in the past few years. Resilience among consumers is dependent on positive long term economic expectations," said Curtin.
"Hopefully, as the pace of economic growth springs ahead in the coming months, the main beneficiary will be an improvement in long term economic expectations for personal finances as well as the overall economy," He said.
The sub-index of current economic conditions, which reflects Americans' perceptions of their financial situation and whether they consider it a good time to buy big-ticket items like houses or cars, increased to 98.7 in April from 95.7 last month.
The sub-index gauging consumer expectations for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, climbed to 74.7 in April from 70.0 in March.