The Westpac-MI consumer sentiment survey for March will be released this morning; a closely watched report that reveals expectations for the economy, consumer spending, labour market conditions and house prices in the months ahead.
Here’s the state of play.
- The survey is based upon responses from 1,200 adults across Australia and is generally conducted the week prior to the results being released.
- A reading of 100 is deemed neutral, meaning the number of optimists and pessimists is equal. A figure above 100 indicates optimists outnumber pessimists while a figure below 100 suggests pessimists outnumber optimists.
- In February, sentiment surged 4.3% to 101.3, the largest percentage increase seen since August 2015. It was also the equal highest level recorded since January 2014.
- It left optimists outnumbering pessimists for only the fifth time in the past two years.
- Rebounding stocks and a rally in the crude price were cited as the chief catalysts behind the gain, something that bodes well for today’s report given both rallied hard during the survey period.
- The survey’s unemployment expectations index increased by a further 1.9%, leaving the index some 7.7% above its recent low in October 2015. A higher reading indicates that survey respondents are more pessimistic on the outlook for the labour market.
- The “time to buy a dwelling” index fell 12% after increasing by 14% in January, leaving it 21% below the level of a year earlier. The separate house price expectations index, after rising 20.5% previously, also recoiled, falling by 12.5%.
- Suggesting that the headline sentiment gauge may lift again today, the separate ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian consumer confidence index rose last week.
Westpac will release the survey at 10.30am AEDT.
Business Insider will have full coverage as soon as the report drops.