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US consumer sentiment registers largest monthly decline ever

U.S. consumer sentiment fell by its steepest rate in series history in April amid containment measures and economic disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to survey results from the University of Michigan.

The index of consumer sentiment dropped to 71.0 from 89.1 in March. The figure came in below the consensus estimate of economists polled by Econoday, which was for an index reading of 75.0.

The index measuring consumer expectations fell month over month to 70.0 from 79.7, while the current conditions index plunged by 31.3 points, its steepest monthly drop to 72.4 from 103.7.

"Consumers need to be prepared for a longer and deeper recession rather than the now discredited message that pent-up demand will spark a quick, robust, and sustained economic recovery," said Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist.

There might be continued sharp declines in consumer sentiment as individuals adjust their expectations, Curtin said, adding that expecting a fast economic recovery can lead to a sharper slump in sentiment when those expectations do not pan out.