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Consumers’ holiday spending intentions are a tad lower than in 2020, according to the latest survey from the Conference Board.

On average, consumers intend to spend $648 on gifts this holiday season, according to the survey. That’s down from $673 in 2020. But it still leaves gift budgets at historically high levels.

The projected decline seems to stem from expectations for higher prices and for shortages resulting from supply chain chaos. About 60% of people expect to pay more for gifts and food this year.

The important point for investors from the survey comes from that move upward in expectations for inflation. It is a long-held foundational goal in Federal Reserve monetary policy to prevent rising expectations for higher inflation from getting embedded in consumer minds. That worry, as much as an actual rise in inflation, will guide Fed decisions at its November 3 meeting.