THE CLIVE PALMER EFFECT: Australia's Political Uncertainty Is Making Consumers Anxious

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The NAB’s quarterly Australian Consumer Anxiety for the second quarter was released today and showed a jump to 64.5 from 61.7 in the first quarter.

While this is not an unexpected result given the slump in consumer confidence around the budget, the NAB said the anxiety was around the stability of government policy and cost of living worries.

The new Senate started work last week and already it has shown itself to be unpredictable – the perfect example being the government holding on to its financial advice changes last night, with the support of Clive Palmer’s PUP senators. Last month Palmer had vowed to side with the opposition on the matter.

Other areas of rising anxiety were associated with the “ability to fund retirement, health and job security”.

Beside the above the NAB says the big changes from the last survey are that:

  1. Every question in the survey saw increases in anxiety
  2. Anxiety is lowest in the capital cities
  3. Men’s anxiety is up “sharply” on all questions
  4. lower income workers, “>35k” the most anxious
  5. Younger Australians between 18-29 are much more anxious
  6. Households with kids or greater that 3 people are now the most anxious
  7. Sales and clerical staff have seen a spike in anxiety
  8. Part timers are less worried about cost of living and jobs

Yesterday we saw the ANZ weekly consumer confidence index rise 3.5% which is a solid result – but the anxiety that consumers have will not easily dissipate.

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