Consumer Sentiment Falls to 2-Year Low

Paul Ausick

Consumer research firm Morning Consult reported Monday morning that its consumer sentiment index slid from 108.99 on March 13 to 105.09 on March 16. Based on its daily surveys, this marks an overall year-to-date decline of 8.27 points since January 1. Since February 23, the index has dropped by more than 9.7 points. The consumer sentiment index has fallen to its lowest level since the firm began tracking more than two years ago.

John Leer, Morning Consult’s economist, notes that 27% of survey respondents believe they are worse off financially than they were 12 months ago, the second-highest daily value recorded since January 2018, and 15% of respondents expect to be worse off 12 months from now, also the highest daily value recorded since January 2018.

The Dow Jones industrial average rebounded on Friday but opened limit down Monday morning and trading was halted on the New York Stock Exchange. Stocks were down more than 10% at last look.

Crude oil prices have fallen below $30 a barrel following estimates that excess production could reach 10 million barrels a day on the twin prongs of increased production from Russia and Saudi Arabia and collapsing demand due to the economic slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Reserve on Sunday dropped the federal funds rate to a range of 0.00% to 0.25% and said it would pump $700 billion into an easing program to provide further liquidity to the nation’s financial system.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommended steps for central bankers and governments to follow both to keep the global economy afloat and to protect the most vulnerable citizens from financial catastrophe.

China has reported 36 new cases of the infection as of Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 80,880. More than 3,200 Chinese have died from the coronavirus.

The United States posted 127 new cases Monday, bringing the country’s total to 3,807. There have been 69 U.S. deaths from the infection.