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Australian consumer confidence hits lowest since April 2020: Report

IANS | May 16, 2023 03:01 PM

CANBERRA: A new report released on Tuesday confirmed that the Australian consumer confidence index decreased by 1.8 points to 75.9 over the week ending on Sunday, which is at its lowest level since April 2020.

The report by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and Roy Morgan noted that the index has now spent 11 straight weeks below the mark of 80, the longest stretch below 80 since the index began being conducted on a weekly basis in October 2008, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to the report, Australia's consumer confidence index is now 13.4 points below the same week a year ago, which was 89.3 between May 9 to May 15 last year, and 4.4 points below the 2023 weekly average of 80.3.

Confidence towards "current financial conditions" dropped 5.4 points to its lowest on record since 2001, with the subindex regarding future financial conditions plunging 4.6 points.

About 17 per cent of Australians said their families are "better off" financially than this time last year, compared to 56 per cent believing that their families are "worse off" financially.

The report underlined that -39 is the biggest net negative on this question in the history of the survey.

Meanwhile, confidence towards "current economic conditions" rose 0.6 points, while the "future economic conditions" subindex was up 2.6 points.

But the report indicated that sentiment about the Australian economy in the longer term remains "very weak", as only 12 per cent of Australians expected "good times" for the economy over the next five years.

On May 9, Australia's Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced that a budget surplus of A$4.2 billion ($2.8 billion) was forecast for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

"'Economic conditions' rose, perhaps in part due to the announcement of the surplus in the federal budget on May 9. Confidence fell for both present and future financial conditions and the subindex for whether it is a 'good time to buy a major household item', " said ANZ Senior Economist Adelaide Timbrell.

"Among the housing cohorts, confidence fell for those renting (-4.1) and those paying off their homes (-2.2), while it rose for those who own their homes outright (+2.0), " Timbrell added.

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