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Financial News: Australia Westpac Consumer Confidence Weakens Further

Australia Westpac Consumer Confidence Weakens Further

11/08/2022 - 01:58:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Australia's consumer confidence worsened further to historic lows in November, as surging inflation and rising interest rates weighed heavily on family finances, survey results from Westpac showed on Tuesday.

The Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment tumbled 6.9 percent to 78.0 in November from 83.7 in October.

"This was only slightly higher than when the COVID pandemic first hit in April 2020, and prior to that, we needed to go back to the deep recession in the early 1990s to find a weaker read," Westpac chief economist Bill Evans, said.

The survey revealed that a rise in interest rates clearly weighed on confidence this month. The RBA raised the official cash rate by a further 0.25percent at its November meeting, the announcement coming mid-way through the survey week.

Before the decision, sentiment among those surveyed held steady at 83.1, while afterward, sentiment sank to 75.6. Consumers also expect more rate hikes over the next year.

The survey of 1200 respondents was conducted over the four days from October 31 to November 3.

Among sub-components, consumers' opinion regarding the economy's outlook for the next 12 months worsened in November, with the sub-index falling to 74.2 from 79.7 in October, and that for the next five years also dropped sharply from 92.5 to 85.8.

The sub-index reflecting the 'time to buy a major household item' declined by 4.3 percent from the previous month to 81.4 in November.

Similarly, the index measuring consumers' financial situation in the next twelve months weakened in November. The respective index fell from 92.0 to 81.7.

The 'finances vs a year ago' sub-index registered a decline of 3.4 percent.

The labour market's confidence showed a weakening trend in November. The index of Unemployment Expectations rose by 5.4 percent to 117.3.

Sentiment related to housing was significantly impacted by the RBA's interest rate decision. The house price expectations index declined to 91.1 from 99.0.

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