© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Shoppers crowd a supermarket to buy food ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 22, 2022. REUTERS/Jim Vondruska

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumer sentiment fell for the first time four months in March, though households expected inflation to subside over the next 12 months and beyond, a survey showed on Friday.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary March reading on the overall index of consumer sentiment came in at 63.4, down from 67 in the prior month. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a preliminary reading of 67.0.

“This month’s decrease was already fully realized prior to the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, at which time about 85% of our interviews for this preliminary release had been completed,” said Surveys of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu.

The decline in sentiment was concentrated among lower-income, less-educated and younger consumers, as well as consumers with the top tercile of stock holdings, Hsu added.

The survey’s reading of one-year inflation expectations fell to 3.8%, the lowest since April 2021, from 4.1% in February. Its five-year inflation outlook dropped to 2.8%, falling below the narrow 2.9-3.1% range for only the second time in the last 20 months.

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