The final reading for the February Reuters/Michigan index of consumer sentiment
came in at 62.0 compared to the flash reading of 63.4 and the February final
reading of 67.0. That was the lowest
reading in three months.
Economists had anticipated the indicator to be revised slightly down to 63.2.
The details of the latest Surveys of Consumers of the University of
Michigan showed that the index of current economic conditions dropped 6.2 percent
m-o-m 66.3 this month, while the index of consumer expectations declined 8.5
percent m-o-m at 59.2.
The report also revealed that the estimates of year-ahead expected
inflation decreased sharply from 4.1 percent in February to 3.6 percent in March versus
the preliminary reading of 3.8 percent. That represented the lowest
reading since April 2021 (3.4 percent). Meanwhile, the 5-year inflation
expectations remained unchanged at 2.9 percent for the fourth straight month, compared
to the preliminary estimate of 2.8%.
Commenting on the latest results, Joanne Hsu, Surveys of Consumers Director,
noted that consumer sentiment declined in March for the first time in four
months, with data revealing multiple signs that consumers increasingly expect a
recession ahead. Meanwhile, she added, this month’s turmoil in the banking
sector had a limited impact on consumer sentiment.