Australia's consumer sentiment slips: Survey

SYDNEY • A measure of Australia's consumer sentiment slipped in November after three straight months of gains as households became less confident of the property market and their own finances, its compilers said yesterday.

The Melbourne Institute and Westpac Bank survey of 1,200 people found consumer sentiment faltered 1.1 per cent this month from October when it rose by a similar quantum. That left the index at 101.3, with optimists still outnumbering pessimists.

"The Index continues to hold in a very tight band," said Westpac chief economist Bill Evans. "If you compare the average level during this period with the average over the comparable six-month period in 2015, there has been a clear lift in the index of 4.7 per cent."

But sentiment looked to have been tempered this month as the Reserve Bank of Australia stayed pat at its policy meeting, which did not bode well for those with home loans. The sentiment among those holding a mortgage fell 3.1 per cent from a year ago.

The survey measure of family finances fell 1.5 per cent compared with a year ago while expectations for the economic outlook over the next 12 months slipped 0.5 per cent. The measure of whether this was a good time to buy major household items slipped 2.5 per cent from last month, in a slight disappointment for the outlook for Christmas spending.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2016, with the headline 'Australia's consumer sentiment slips: Survey'. Print Edition | Subscribe