Confidence remains robust despite dip: ANZ

(Australian Associated Press)

Consumer confidence has dipped slightly but remains robust, suggesting strength in the housing market.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence Survey fell 0.7 per cent to a level of 119.3 in the week ending January 15.

ANZ senior economist Jo Masters said the main driver of the slide was a dip in consumer’s feelings about their own finances compared to a year ago, but that confidence levels were still relatively high.

“At current levels, confidence looks quite robust and continues to suggest a positive outlook for spending,” she said in a note.

Households’ views about their finances compared to a year ago fell 4.8 per cent last week, while their views about their future finances edged up.

ANZ said both measures remained well above their long run averages.

Survey respondents’ views of economic conditions over the next 12 months were flat, while their views of the wider economic outlook over the next five years rose 0.6 per cent.

Households’ views on whether now was a good a time to buy a household item rose by a solid 1.1 per cent to the highest level in five months.

“The recent rise in views on whether now is a good time to buy a household item likely reflects ongoing strength in the housing market,” Ms Masters said.

Meanwhile, she pointed out that consumers’ inflation expectations rose 4.3 per cent, the second consecutive weekly rise. But Ms Masters added that rising fuel prices was the likely driver.

She said the main risk event for consumer confidence in the current week was the official jobs figures for December due later on Thursday.

“We are expecting decent job growth in December, but confidence remains vulnerable to a weaker than expected report,” Ms Masters said.

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