inflation outlook. This is definitely not good news for the Fed as it tries to engineer a soft landing, possibly without any more rate hikes this year. Consumers are down on most sentiment subindexes, from finances to income and job prospects. However, when asked about spending plans, survey respondents did not indicate any change in buying intentions for major items. They are down slightly for buying a new car and even less so for buying a new house. To be clear, consumer sentiment about household balance sheets remains solid when compared to the last five years and even the next five years. That is more in line with our new estimate of excess savings: There are about $400 billion left in the economy that should be able to fuel spending and growth at least until the first quarter of 2024. But the outlook for consumer sentiment might face more risks going forward. Geopolitical conflict in the Middle East could cause periodic volatility in oil and energy markets with varied second-order effects on domestic gasoline prices. While the conflict’s impact on energy prices remains limited at the moment, it is critical to keep monitoring the spillover effect the longer the conflict lasts. For more on consumer trends, check out RSM’s consumer goods industry insights.