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U.S. consumer sentiment at 26-year low

Consumer confidence fell for a third straight month in April, hitting its weakest in more than a quarter century, a survey shows.
/ Source: Reuters

Consumer confidence fell for a third straight month in April, hitting its weakest in more than a quarter century on heightened worries over inflation and the sagging housing market, a survey showed on Friday.

The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said its final index of confidence fell deeper into recessionary territory, to 62.6 from 69.5 in March. This was just below economists’ median expectation of a reading of 63.2, according to a Reuters poll.

The April result is the lowest since March 1982’s level of 62.0., when the “stagflationary” period of low growth and high inflation was still an issue for many Americans.

“More consumers reported that their personal financial situation had worsened than any time since 1982 due to high fuel and food prices as well as shrinking income gains and widespread reports of declines in home values,” The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said in a statement.

The report showed its reading on one-year inflation expectations climbed to 4.8 percent — the highest since a similar reading in October 1990 — from 4.3 percent in March.

Five-year inflation expectations rose to 3.2 percent from 2.9 percent in March.