Consumer confidence starts 2020 at four year low

Consumer confidence has hit a four-year low at the beginning of 2020, with the effects of the nationwide bushfires dampening public outlook last week according to the latest ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence index. 

The index fell 1.7 per cent from the week prior landing at 106.2 – well below the 113.1 point monthly average since 1990. 

Largely, the drop was attributed to a general drop in the economic outlook, with attitudes toward current economic conditions down 12.9 per cent, and future economic conditions down 8.1 per cent.

However, attitudes toward personal finances rose, with a 4 per cent growth in current finances, and future finances up 0.3 per cent. 

ANZ head of Australian economics David Plank said the result isn’t surprising, given the backdrop of the weekend’s catastrophic bushfires. 

“But, the reported decline of 1.7 per cent since the last survey in mid-December understates the weakness when one considers the New Year usually sees a strong gain in sentiment,” Plank said. 

“Between 2010 and 2019, the average gain in confidence for the first week of January has been 3.4 per cent. Against the usual seasonal gain of recent years, confidence has started 2020 in very poor shape.”

Plank said that the drop may be relatively short lived, given the rise in personal financial attitudes. The government’s policy steps taken in the last few days may also contribute to a rise in the coming weeks, though Plank added that the bushfire season is far from over.

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