Australia: Consumer confidence plunges in March
March 14, 2012
In March, the index of consumer sentiment published by Westpac and the Melbourne Institute dropped to 96.1 points, down from the 101.1 points recorded in February. Due to the sizable drop, the index moved further away from its long-term average of 101.8 points and is now at its lowest level in three months. According to the survey, sentiment was influenced by the Central Bank's decision to leave rates unchanged in February, contrasting households' expectations of a further rate cut. In addition, private banks raised mortgage rates at the end of February, which was also a drag on consumer sentiment. All the sub-components of the index deteriorated compared to the previous month. The sharpest deterioration was experienced by the component related to the current personal financial situation. Accordingly, the sub-index related to intentions to purchase a major household item dropped by 3.8% in March.
Author: Armando Ciccarelli, Head of Data Solutions