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Expand chart
Data: University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers; Chart: Axios Visuals

Consumer sentiment fell to its lowest level since October 2016 and dropped by the most since December 2012, according to a survey by the University of Michigan.

Why it matters: The decline in sentiment was attributed largely to negative references to tariffs and the U.S.-China trade war, said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist. Tariffs were mentioned "spontaneously" as a negative force by 1 in 3 respondents.

What they're saying: “The August data indicate that the erosion of consumer confidence due to tariff policies is now well underway,” Curtin said. He added:

  • “Compared with those who did not reference tariffs, consumers who made spontaneous negative references to tariffs also voiced higher year-ahead inflation expectations, more frequently expected rising unemployment, and expected smaller annual gains in household incomes."
  • “This could result in a much slower growth in consumption and the overall economy.”

Of note: Michigan's data remains at historically high levels but has been falling consistently since May, while a measure of consumer confidence conducted by the Conference Board has been much more resilient.

Go deeper

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Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

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As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.

6 hours ago - World

Scoop: Germany urges Congress not to sanction Putin’s pipeline

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The German government has urged members of Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, arguing that doing so will "weaken" U.S. credibility and "ultimately damage transatlantic unity," according to documents obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: At a time when roughly 100,000 Russian troops are massing at its border, Ukraine views Nord Stream 2 as an existential threat to its security. The pipeline would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion.