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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Pessimistic consumer mood continues in Australia

The latest Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment results show a  continued ‘downbeat’ mood among Australian consumers.

According to the institute’s report, pessimistic consumers outnumber the optimists for the 10th consecutive month, with pressure on family finances, concerns around interest rates, deteriorating housing affordability and rising energy prices all contributing to the negative mood.

The most reported concern was family finances, rising 6.1 per cent compared with this time 12 months ago. While there was some optimism about Australia’s economic future over the next 12 months (up 2.7 per cent) and five years (up 5.1 per cent), the results are still “lukewarm”, according to Westpac.

The bank says its September survey included several additional questions on news recall to further understand the negative mood of consumers. In a surprising result, the data showed a significant drop in recall, indicating that consumers are getting much less exposure to the news in general.

Topics with the highest level of recall were economic conditions (21 per cent), budget and taxation (17 per cent), interest rates (16 per cent), inflation (16 per cent), jobs (15 per cent) and international conditions (12 per cent). While all topics were viewed as unfavourable, news on inflation and international conditions were rated as much more negative compared with just three months ago.

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