Australian household confidence just took a hit for the first time in 2018

Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Australian consumer confidence just fell back to earth with a thud, falling sharply from a four-year high the previous week.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian consumer confidence index declined by 3.3% to a reading of 119.4.

The decline was driven by a particularly steep decline in sentiment towards current household finances, which fell by 9.1%.

“The sharp fall in sentiment around households’ current finances may reflect a jump in petrol prices across Melbourne and Brisbane amidst an environment of low wage growth, said David Plank, ANZ’s Head of Australian Economics.

Views toward both current and future economic conditions dimmed compared to last week’s sunny outlook, falling by 3.6% and 1.3% respectively.

However, taking a step back from the weekly volatility, the measure still sits well above its long-term average of 112.9.

Westpac’s monthly measure of consumer confidence is also sitting a multi-year highs.

Looking at the measure more broadly, Plank attributed last week’s fall to higher utility costs and perhaps a dose of the blues as Australians return to work from the summer break.

“Talk of electricity blackouts and a proposed rail strike in Sydney may have weighed on overall sentiment. It is also possible that the New Year return to work was a factor for some,” Plank said.

“Looking past the weekly volatility, we expect sentiment to remain supported by a strong labour market and a solid outlook for economic activity in 2018.”

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