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U.S. Consumer Sentiment Drops More Than Initially Estimated In March

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Revised data released by the University of Michigan on Friday showed consumer sentiment in the U.S. fell by more than initially estimated in the month of March.

The report showed the consumer sentiment index for March was downwardly revised to 59.4 from the preliminary reading of 59.7. Economists had expected the index to be unrevised.

With the unexpected downward revision, the consumer sentiment was at its lowest level since hitting 55.8 in August of 2011.

“Inflation has been the primary cause of rising pessimism,” said Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin. “Inflation was mentioned throughout the survey, whether the questions referred to personal finances, prospects for the economy, or assessments of buying conditions.”

He added, “When asked to explain changes in their finances in their own words, more consumers mentioned reduced living standards due to rising inflation than any other time except during the two worst recessions in the past fifty years.”

The report showed one-year inflation expectations jumped to 5.4 percent in March from 4.9 percent in February, reaching the highest level since November 1981.

The current economic conditions index edged down to 67.2 in March from 68.2 in February, while the index of consumer expectations slumped to 54.3 from 59.4.

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