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U.S. consumer sentiment drops, import prices fall

Christian Fernsby |
U.S. consumer sentiment fell in early March as households responded to the coronavirus pandemic and steep declines in stock market prices, a survey showed today.

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Topics: U.S.    IMPORT   

The University of Michigan said its consumer sentiment index fell 5.0% to a reading of 95.9. This was however somewhat higher than what economists had expected, with a Reuters poll forecasting sentiment dropping to 95.0 early this month.

The University of Michigan said while the initial response to the coronavirus “has not generated the type of economic panic among consumers that was present in the run-up to the Great Recession,” it noted that “the data suggest that additional declines in confidence are still likely to occur as the spread of the virus continues to accelerate.”

U.S. import prices fell by the most in six months in February as the cost of petroleum products dropped, and economists said they could decline further because of the coronavirus pandemic and an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The Labor Department said today import prices slipped 0.5% last month after an upwardly revised 0.1% gain in January. Import prices, which exclude tariffs, were previously reported to have been unchanged in January.

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