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Australian consumer confidence wobbles

News, 06 July 2016

SYDNEY: Australian consumer confidence has dipped amid uncertainty over the outcome of Sunday's general election but it remains above the long-term average.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence index – based on 1,000 face-to-face interviews – has edged lower in each of the past two weeks to stand at 115.8, compared to a monthly average since 1990 of 112.8.

And while consumers were taking a gloomy outlook on their own finances – views on current finances were down 1.6% last week and on future finances down 5.1% – they were more bullish on the economy generally with their views on the coming 12 months up 4.7% and on the next five years up 1.7%.

"Consumers' views towards the economic outlook have been on an upward trend since the start of the year, although they remain well below their long-run average," the research noted.

As the election votes continue to be counted, neither of the two major parties can claim a majority and there is the possibility of a hung parliament.

The auto industry is among those bracing for slowdown in the second half of the year as a result of the uncertainty.

Last month was the best month ever for car sales in Australia, with 128,569 vehicles delivered - up by 2.2% on the previous record set in 2015, according to figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

"We had a bumper start to the year and the lead-up to the election appeared to have a negligible impact on car sales," said Martin Benders, managing director of Mazda Australia.

"But it's unclear at this stage what the outcome of the Federal election will do to consumer confidence," he told News Corp Australia.

"Add in global disruptions like Brexit … we may continue to see adverse currency impacts as well," he added. "So we see the second half of the year as coming under pressure."

Data sourced from Roy Morgan, News Corp Australia; additional content by Warc staff