Consumer sentiment drifts downwards

Family finances still under pressure.

 The Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of consumer sentiment took a slight dip in May, declining 0.6%, an update Westpac chief economist, Bill Evans described as “disappointing.”

He said despite what appears to have been a well-received Federal Budget, consumer sentiment has continued to drift lower.However, the survey details points to a positive boost from policy measures which included personal income tax cuts, being more than offset by weakening current assessments of family finances.

“Consumers continue to face significant headwinds from weak income growth,” Evans said. “Other concerns would be reports of falling house prices and rising petrol prices.”

On a more positive note the ‘time to buy a major household item’ sub-index rose slightly, at 0.2% although consumer views around housing deteriorated even further. The ‘time to buy a dwelling’ index fell 2.8%, a six month low, and was notably weaker in Sydney.

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