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Australia Consumer Confidence March 2020

Australia: Coronavirus-shaken consumer sentiment at over five-year low in March

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index rose to 91.9 in March, from 95.5 in February, due to coronavirus concerns and associated financial markets turmoil. Therefore, sentiment moved further below the 100-mark, indicating that there were more pessimists than optimists among Australian consumers. Moreover, the index logged its worst reading since end 2014 as well as the second-lowest print since the Global Financial Crisis.

March’s fall was broad-based. Consumers’ outlook over the general economic situation in the year ahead plummeted further into pessimistic terrain, and their expectations over the general economic situation in the next five years also lost ground, although the fall was less sharp. This likely caused a plunge in households’ willingness to buy major household item. Moreover, consumers’ confidence regarding their future financial situation weakened somewhat in March and their unemployment expectations worsened drastically. Furthermore, consumers were less inclined to purchase a dwelling, although they saw house prices falling considerably ahead.

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