United States: Consumer confidence falls sharply in March
March 26, 2013
In March, the Conference Board consumer confidence index fell to 59.7 points from 69.6 points in February almost reversing the gains from the previous months. The reading caught markets by surprise, which were expecting the index to be unchanged at its February level. Despite the monthly drop, consumer confidence now stands 18.5 points above the level recorded in the same month a year ago.
The monthly print was mainly driven by a sharp fall in consumer expectations regarding their personal finances, although households are more pessimistic about their current situation. In addition, respondents' assessment of future job market deteriorated, with fewer people seeing more jobs six months from now.
According to the Conference Board, "the loss of confidence, particularly expectations, mirrors the losses experienced this past December and January. The recent sequester has created uncertainty regarding the economic outlook and as a result, consumers are less confident."