Dow Jones Newswires: Australia’s consumer confidence mired in worst sustained slump on record

by | Sep 11, 2023 | Stock Market

SYDNEY — Australian consumer confidence is in the worst sustained slump on record, according to a weekly survey by the ANZ Bank and pollster Roy Morgan. Consumer confidence fell 1.1 points over the week, completing six consecutive months below 80 points, something never before seen in the data.

The weaker outcome comes despite the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to keep official interest rates on hold at 4.10% for a third month in a row, and news that second quarter economic activity was stronger than expected, pointing to a soft landing for the economy. The result comes as households feel the intense sting of surging mortgage interest rates, with huge numbers of borrowers migrating from ultra-low fixed interest rates to sharply elevated variable rates as the earlier deals from banks expire. The downcast mood of consumers is somewhat surprising given that unemployment remains near its lowest levels in half a century while job vacancies remain well above levels seen prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Economists are also increasingly confident that the RBA won’t increase interest rates further, having lifted the OCR by 400 basis points since May last year. Inflation also appears to be in sharp retreat, w …

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