Consumer confidence rose just 0.3 per cent last week, according to the latest ANZ/Roy Morgan survey, suggesting consumers are pocketing the savings from cheaper petrol rather than spending it.
Cheaper fuel and the usual seasonal uplift in January had failed to revive confidence, ANZ chief economist ,Warren Hogan, said, suggesting a pickup in the labour market was needed to stoke optimism.
“Subdued levels of confidence, combined with soft retail sales in November and mixed anecdotes about December sales, suggest that households may be saving rather than spending the real income boost from lower petrol prices,” he said.
The data showed a slight dip in the number of people who felt positive about their current financial situation compared to a year ago.
However there was a solid lift in those who felt now was a good time to buy a major household item.
CommSec chief economist, Craig James, said last week’s terror attacks in Paris probably had an influence on the survey’s fairly flat reading on confidence levels.
“And while Aussie motorists are happy with lower petrol prices, consumers more generally are not overjoyed that the Aussie dollar has weakened,” he said.
“A softer Aussie means less value for Aussie tourists on overseas jaunts and the weaker currency also reduces interest in buying goods on overseas internet sites.”