Consumer confidence bounces back

Consumer confidence posted a jump of 10.1% last week, the biggest gain since the ANZ Roy Morgan survey shifted to a weekly basis in 2008. All the subcomponents rose, with the exception of a small decline in ‘future economic conditions.’

One of the key measures in the survey, ‘the time to buy a major household item’ gained 17.5% compared to a drop of 23.8% previously.

ANZ head of Australian Economics, David Plank said the increase was a strong endorsement of the government’s massive wage subsidy package, announced on March 30. He said improved news about the flattening of the ‘pandemic curve’ may also have contributed to the lift in confidence.

However, Plank said the bounce needed to be kept in perspective. “Confidence is still around the lows seen in 1990 during the last recession, so consumers can hardly be said to be cheerful or ready to spend, but it is nice to be commenting on some better news.”

Government handling of COVID-19 gets the ‘thumbs up’

Nearly two-thirds of Australians believe the government is handling the coronavirus crisis well, up 22% in a week, however 59% believe the ‘worst is yet to come’ over the next month, according to a Roy Morgan web survey.

The number of New South Wales residents, 59%, that agreed with this has increased substantially in the space of a week, which is similar to clear majorities in other states including Queensland 70%, Victoria 66%, Western Australia 75% and South Australia 58%.

In other survey results, a fifth believed the threat from coronavirus is exaggerated, with far more men than women agreeing with this result, while three-quarters are afraid that they, or someone in their family, may catch coronavirus. Also, a largely unchanged majority of Australians, 87%, said they were willing to be vaccinated if a new coronavirus vaccine became publicly available.

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