New ANZ-Roy Morgan analysis of movement data in Australia’s capital city CBDs since the Covid pandemic began shows movement in the Melbourne CBD at only 12% of pre-pandemic averages in early June, while movement in the Sydney CBD is at 28%, as the city deals with a new outbreak.

Roy Morgan CEO, Michele Levine said Covid outbreaks in Melbourne and Sydney are keeping people ‘working from home’ long past the time many had hoped movement levels in both cities would have returned closer to the pre-pandemic averages.

“Given under 3% of Australians have been fully vaccinated against Covid there is the ongoing possibility small outbreaks can cause lockdowns, increased restrictions and border closures for some-time to come, and now without the added support of the JobKeeper wage subsidy.”

The latest ANZ-Morgan Consumer Confidence index was virtually unchanged this week although there were contrasting movements in Australia’s two largest cities with Sydney down 4.6% while Melbourne increased 2.4% on a week ago as the city continued to recover from its recent lockdown.

Interviewing was largely conducted before the Sydney-wide lockdown began on Saturday night and before many restrictions and border closures were announced in other states. This week’s small decrease was largely driven by a slight decline in sentiment about personal finances although consumers were a bit more optimistic about buying a major household item.

According to ANZ senior economist, Felicity Emmett, headline consumer confidence barely moved last week, dropping only 0.2% from the week before. “However, with new Covid cases rising rapidly in NSW over the week, confidence in regional NSW fell 6.6%.”

She said the impact of this was largely offset by ongoing recovery in confidence in Melbourne and further gains in confidence elsewhere. “Recent experience suggests sentiment will respond to case numbers and lockdown measures in the coming weeks. If case numbers remain high, confidence is likely to deteriorate, but if they come back under control quickly and restrictions look likely to be short-lived sentiment is likely to rebound,” Emmett said.