Consumer confidence tumbles
ANZ/Roy Morgan’s weekly consumer confidence index has fallen 2.3 per cent, and has been sliding since the beginning of 2015.
While retail spending in the first two months of 2015 surged to its strongest level in five months, unemployment has been at or near 12 year highs and in March the ANZ job advertisement survey recorded its first fall in almost a year.
ANZ chief economist, Warren Hogan, expects consumer confidence to be bumpy in the year ahead because of these factors.
“The strength in retail sales over January and February is surprising in light of continuing lacklustre consumer confidence,” he said.
“One key driver of the softness in consumer confidence has been weak job security.”
The ANZ survey showed that the weakest sub category was the one measuring consumers’ willingness to buy a major household items, which dropped 4.6 per cent last week to its lowest level since June 2014.
Confidence in household finances and the economic outlook for the next year were also down.
“A key question for the outlook, therefore, is the extent to which a soft labour market will offset the feel-good factor from higher asset prices,” Hogan said.