–1-Year Inflation Expectations Highest Since May 2011

WASHINGTON (MNI) – U.S. consumer sentiment dipped in the early part
of March, while their one-year inflation expectations rose to the
highest level since May last year, according to the Reuters/University
of Michigan Consumer Sentiment survey released Friday.

The preliminary March consumer sentiment index was 74.3, below the
median expectation of 76.0 in a Market News International survey of
economists, and compared to 75.3 last month. The consumer sentiment
index was 75.0 in January and 69.9 in December.

The index’s measure of how consumers view current conditions came
in at a lofty 84.2, up from 83.0 in February and mathing January’s
reading. The index was 79.6 in December’s report, and 77.6 in November.

The preliminary gauge of consumers’ expectations of future
conditions fell to 68.0, a 2.3 point decline from February. This after
the index came in at 69.1 in January and 63.6 in December.

According to the report, consumers’ 12-month economic outlook was
74.0 vs. 82.0 in February.

Soaring gasoline prices no doubt influenced the outlook for
inflation in the near-term, with the preliminary 1-year inflation
expectations for March at 4.0%, the highest since May 2011. The
expectation was 3.3% in February. Final five-year inflation expectations
are at 3.0%, compared to 2.9% in February’s report. January’s
expectation was for 2.7%.

** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **