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U.S. consumer sentiment rises in mid-March to highest in a year

Texas lifts its mask mandate and reopens businesses to full capacity in Houston

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumer sentiment improved in early March to its strongest in a year as COVID-19 cases declined and the pace of vaccinations accelerated, a survey showed on Friday.

The University of Michigan said its preliminary consumer sentiment index rose to 83.0 in the first half of this month from a final reading of 76.8 in February. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index rising to 78.5.

The survey’s barometer of current economic conditions jumped to a reading of 91.5 from 86.2 in February. Its measure of consumer expectations rose to 77.5 from 70.7.

The survey’s one-year inflation expectation decreased to 3.1% from 3.3%, while the survey’s five-to-10-year inflation outlook was at unchanged at 2.7%.

(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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