U.S. consumer confidence ticks up in March

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The Space Needle and Mount Rainier are seen on the skyline of Seattle

(Reuters) – U.S. consumer confidence edged higher in March from a year-low reading a month earlier, with Americans’ assessment of current economic conditions improving on the back of a healthy job market, offsetting concerns over the war in Ukraine and inflation that have further darkened their outlook.

The Conference Board said on Tuesday its consumer confidence index rose to a reading of 107.2 this month from a downwardly revised 105.7 in February. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index decreasing to 107.0 from the initially reported reading of 110.5 in February.

The large downward revision to February put that reading at the lowest in a year. Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, an event that triggered a global surge in oil prices, which sent U.S. gasoline prices to a record high earlier this month.

“The Present Situation Index rose substantially, suggesting economic growth continued into late (in the first quarter),” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board in Washington. “Expectations, on the other hand, weakened further with consumers citing rising prices, especially at the gas pump, and the war in Ukraine as factors.”

(Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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