DANGER ZONE: Australian consumer confidence continues to slide before budget

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey. Photo: Getty Images

The latest weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence has just been released and the news isn’t good. From a week earlier, confidence fell by 0.9% to 108.8, the lowest level seen since early August last year.

Confidence in the economic outlook, both for the year ahead and for five years time, deteriorated for a third consecutive week, offsetting a modest 2% increase in expectations for household finances for the next 12 months.

ANZ Chief Economist had this to say following the release:

“Consumers’ sensitivity to budget news is not surprising. Rather, it fits with the theme of the ‘fragile’ consumer we have seen over the last year or so, with confidence falling in response to any bad news around the economy or budget. This suggests that negative headlines around the worsening budget position could continue to have an impact on confidence, even if the Government delivers a ‘dull’ budget as expected with few major policy measures.”

With this survey corresponding with an equally-weak consumer sentiment reading from Westpac last week, this news will only heap further pressure onto Treasurer Joe Hockey to ensure a repeat of last year’s confidence-sapping budget is not repeated.

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