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Consumer's Mood Tumbled To a 26-Year Low in April

Reuters
Friday, 11 Apr 2008 | 11:54 AM ET

U.S. consumer confidence fell to its lowest in more than a quarter century in early April, diving deeper into recessionary territory on heightened worries over inflation and jobs, a survey showed Friday.

AP

The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said its preliminary index of confidence fell to 63.2 in April from 69.5 in March.

This was well below economists' median expectation of a reading of 69.0, 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 fresh in the memory of many Americans.

"There have only been a dozen other surveys that have recorded a lower level of consumer sentiment in the more than 50-year history of the survey," The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said in a statement.

"Persistently high food and fuel prices as well as rising unemployment have caused consumers to view their future financial prospect more negatively (than) any other time since 1980." The report showed its reading on one-year inflation expectations jumped 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 3.1 percent -- the highest since December 2007 -- from 2.9 percent in March.

The index of expectations for personal finances fell to 97, its lowest since April 1980 when it was 94, from 112 in March.

The index of current personal finances fell to 87, its lowest since November 1982, when it was 85, from 93 in March.

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