Your 10-second guide to today's Australian consumer sentiment report

Photo: Darren England/ Getty Images.

The Westpac-MI consumer sentiment survey for April 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 March the index fell 2.2% to 99.1, indicating that pessimists outnumber optimists.
  • Three of the survey’s five subindices deteriorated during the month with the steepest decline registered in perceptions towards family finances compared to a year ago which fell 8.2%.
  • On housing, the survey’s time to buy a dwelling index rose 5.4% to 104.7, leaving it up 3.0% from September. That sentiment was replicated in the separate house price expectations index which jumped 9.8%, leaving it up 16.6% from December.
  • Outside of housing, unemployment expectations continued to rise, pointing to reduced confidence in the labour market outlook. It rose 1.3% to 147.3, leaving the index up 9.2% over the past six months.
  • In terms of the ‘wisest place for savings’ at present, 24.4% of respondents indicated to ‘pay down debt’, the highest proportion seen since the height of the European debt crisis in December 2011.
  • Recent sentiment indicators have presented mixed readings on the economy. The NAB business confidence index is now above its long-run average while the separate ANZ consumer confidence index has fallen for the past four weeks, leaving it below its historic average.

The Westpac-MI survey will be released at 10.30am AEST.

Business Insider will have full coverage as soon as the data drops.

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