10/05/2012 22:55:00

CEOs See Consumer Recovery But Higher Inflation

A group of influential U.S. chief executives said Thursday that sentiment about the consumer sector had improved for the first time in three years, though they flagged rising inflation expectations for 2012 and 2013.

The annual spring survey conducted by The Business Council said members in the consumer sector were more positive about current conditions than those in manufacturing, with even half those in retail more optimistic about the rest of the year.

The May survey shows an improvement in confidence in most countries and emerging markets compared to February. However, the gap between the relatively high confidence levels for the U.S. and lower readings in emerging markets remains," said Henry Kravis, co-founder of private-equity titan KKR & Co. and Business Council vice chairman, in his introduction to the survey.

Almost three-quarters of respondents expect U.S. economic growth to pick up to between 2% and 3% this year, though more than a third now expect inflation to range between 3% and 3.4%.

The Business Council includes more than 100 chief executives from companies such as J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Caterpillar Corp. (CAT), Boeing Co. (BA), Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM).

-By Doug Cameron, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-750-4135; doug.cameron@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 10, 2012 17:55 ET (21:55 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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