Confidence rises but more feel worse off

Michael Mehr
(Australian Associated Press)


Consumer confidence edged higher at the weekend according to a survey suggesting a slight rise in optimism about the next 12 months, while also recording more people saying they feel worse off than at this point last year.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence index rose 0.6 per cent from the previous week, with respondents’ perception of the economy – including the outlook for the next 12 months – up 0.3 per cent and sentiment about conditions during the next five years down 1.1 per cent.

The weekly measure of consumer mood, which is based on about 1,000 face-to-face interviews conducted on Saturdays and Sundays, also registered a 2.4 per cent fall in how people felt about their own current financial condition compared with a year ago and a 0.4 per cent increase regarding their finances during the next 12 months.

The survey’s “time to buy a major household item” metric climbed 5.1 per cent, bouncing back from a 3.9 per cent decline in the previous week, in another component of the seemingly contradictory poll data released on Tuesday.

ANZ economist David Plank said that the 2.4 per cent drop in current finances sub-index was “the second big fall in the past three weeks” and although the measure was still well above average, it was “now down close to 10 per cent from its August high”.

Respondents are asked “Would you say you and your family are better off financially or worse off than you were at this time last year?” and analysts say the result has in the past often worked as a leading indicator of household consumption.

“If consumers lose confidence in their own finances when they are also worried about the broader economic outlook then there may be a material impact on spending,” Mr Plank said.


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