Consumer Sentiment Unexpectedly Plunges

Young girl have problems with her credit card till shopping online
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Consumer sentiment took a tumble in March—even before the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, data from the University of Michigan’s survey of U.S. households showed Friday.

The University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment fell to 63.4 in March, the first decline in four month. This was 5.4 percent below the February reading.

The metrics tracking current conditions and the outlook for the future both declined. The current conditions index fell 6.1 percent to 66.4. The expectations index dropped 4.9 percent to 61.5.

“Consumer sentiment fell for the first time in four months, sitting about 5 percent below February but remaining 7 percent above a year ago. This month’s decrease was already fully realized prior to the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, at which time about 85% of our interviews for this preliminary release had been completed,” said Joanne Hsu, the director of the University of Michigan’s survey of consumers. “Overall, all components of the index worsened relatively evenly, primarily on the basis of persistently high prices, creating downward momentum for sentiment leading into the financial turmoil that began last week.”


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