US consumer confidence at five-month lowMarch 12th, 2011 - 12:06 pm ICT by IANS
New York, March 12 (IANS/EFE) US consumers’ confidence about their financial prospects and the course of the economy is at the lowest level in five months, according to a report released Friday.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment for March dipped to 68.2 points from February’s 77.5.
March’s figure is the lowest since last October and also represents the biggest month-to-month decline since October 2008, at the beginning of the global financial crisis.
Most analysts had expected a much smaller drop, to around 76.3 points, based on recent encouraging data about jobs.
The substantial slide in consumer confidence is blamed on a surge in gasoline prices - averaging $3.54 a gallon for regular - as the global oil market is roiled by unrest in North Africa and the Middle East.
Besides the overall index, the Thomson Reuters/Michigan survey measures consumers’ view of current conditions and what they expect six months out.
The current conditions sub-index in March stands at 86.3, compared with 86.9 points last month, and the expectations sub-index plunged from 71.6 points to 58.3.
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