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Financial News: Australia's Christmas Spending Likely To Be Tepid

Australia's Christmas Spending Likely To Be Tepid

11/20/2017 - 08:43:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Despite a hotly retail high season, the early signs are not promising for Australia's consumer spending over Christmas 2017, Mathew Hassan, an economist at Westpac Institutional Bank, said.

The Westpac Consumer Confidence Index dropped 1.7 percent on month in November to a score of 99.7 - moving below the key line of 100 that separates optimists from pessimists.

The survey was highlighted by nervousness about the year ahead and consumers looking to keep Christmas spending on a tight rein.

This reflects a repeat of 2016's 'tepid' Christmas spend is likely.

"The consumer mood slipping back into slightly pessimistic territory after a brief moment of optimism in October," the economist observed.

Responses from households suggest that Christmas spending is likely to underscore the lacklustre tone.

Just under a third of Australians expect to spend less on gifts this year than last, with 54 percent expecting to spend about the same and just 11 percent spending more - the lowest proportion since Westpac began running this question in 2009, Hassan pointed out.

The wider picture from Consumer Sentiment is of a similar lead-in to last year, the economist said.

That puts the Christmas 2017 in the 'middle of the pack' by long term historical standards, but will clearly come as a disappointment for Australian retailers who have already endured a lackluster, stop-start year for sales, the economist added.

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