Westpac has admitted mild surprise that it’s consumer sentiment index did not rebound more strongly this month, given Australian consumers had reason to be optimistic.
The index, compiled with the Melbourne Institute based on survey of 1,200 people, rose 0.3% to 99.8 from 99.5 in March. But senior economist Matthew Hassan:
Given that the Index has fallen by a total of 9.6% since November and that March’s reading appeared to have been impacted by announced job cuts at Qantas and across the vehicle industry we had expected that some rebound was likely. That expectation was also supported by the recent positive news around the sharp rise in new jobs for February and ongoing positive news on the housing market.
The really good economic news is buried in the sub-indices, as even though Westpac says respondents were “ambivalent” towards the economy, family finances (which is where the personal rubber hits the road) “showed marked improvement, with the sub-indices tracking views on finances compared to a year ago up 6.7%, and expectations for the next 12 months up 2.2%.
Westpac says the Consumer Sentiment supports a period of interest rate stability in Australia.
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