Australia: Consumer sentiment picks up in March
The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment increased from 102.7 in February to 103.0 in March. As a result, the index moved further above the crucial 100 mark that separates optimism from pessimism among consumers, where it has now been for four consecutive months. Greater stability in global equity markets since mid-February likely helped boost the figure.
March’s uptick came on the back of consumers’ more optimistic assessment of their own finances compared to a year ago, their own finances over the next 12 months and economic conditions over the next 12 months. However, consumers grew more negative regarding economic conditions over the next five years, and became less willing to purchase major household items. Households also grew slightly less positive regarding job prospects in March, despite a surge in job creation over the last year.