Australia’s consumer confidence falls

August 15th, 2012 - 3:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Aug 15 (IANS) The confidence of Australian consumers has fallen despite some positive economic news over the past month, a survey released Wednesday showed.

The survey was released by Westpac Banking Corp and the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.

The Westpac/Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment fell 2.5 percent in August to 96.6, from 99.1 in July, reported Xinhua.

Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said the result was disappointing, given a better run of domestic and global economic news over the past few months.

“There has been enough positive news around since the last survey, and generally over the last few months, to have sustained an upswing in consumer sentiment,” he said in a statement.

“News that retail spending was boosted in the first half of the year; unemployment remains low; the government has released 1.9 billion AU dollars ($1.99 billion) in fiscal compensation over the May-June period; the Reserve Bank had cut the overnight cash rate by 0.75 percent in May and June; and the president of the European Central Bank has been promising to `do whatever it takes’ to save the euro has been unsuccessful in sustaining an upswing in sentiment.”

Evans said the index appeared to show sentiment settling in a “cautiously pessimistic range”.

He said August was the sixth consecutive month that the index had registered below 100.

Evans said four of the index’ five components showed falls in August, with only the sub-index tracking expectations for family finances in the next 12 months showing an increase of 3.3 percent.

The sub-indexes tracking consumer views on family finances relative to a year ago fell by 6.3 percent.

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