Consumer confidence firms

But not good news for retailers.

The latest ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence index firmed with four out of five sub-indices posting gains. However, the one exception was the ‘time to buy a household item’ sub-index that tumbled 4.3%, its lowest point in eight weeks. Four week moving average inflation expectations edged down to 4.2%, despite the weekly print coming in at 4.4%.

Households’ views towards current financial conditions bounced 2.9% last week, more than recovering from the 1.9% fall in the previous week. Similarly, households were also more optimistic about future financial conditions, which increased 2.3%. Consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions also jumped 4.1%, entirely reversing the 3.8% fall in the prior week while views towards future economic conditions edged up 0.3%.

ANZ head of Australian economics, David Plank (pictured) said it was encouraging to see a broad based stabilisation in confidence at elevated levels. “Looking at July, aggregate financial conditions have largely tracked sideways. Meanwhile, aggregate economic conditions declined slightly over the month but remain above their long term average.  We think the resilience of consumer confidence indicates that the strength of the labour market is more than offsetting the weakness in housing and other concerns.

“On the weaker side the ‘time to buy a household item’ sub-index has fallen from its peak at the start of July, losing nearly four points over the month. While the sub-index remains above its long term average, we will be watching it as the consumer remains vulnerable, in our view, given high levels of debt, falling house prices and sluggish wage growth,” he said.

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