Australia: Consumer Sentiment holds the line - Westpac
Bill Evans, research analyst at Westpac, points out that Australia’s Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment rose 0.1% to 104.4 in December from 104.3 in November.
“The consumer mood continues to hold at cautiously optimistic levels. With another reading above 100, December now marks a full year in which optimists have outnumbered pessimists, a turnaround on 2017 which saw ten out of twelve sentiment updates below the 100 line. That said, the margin is still fairly small with some of the detail in the December update on the soft side. The component indexes show more downbeat views on family finances and longer term economic prospects offset by a solid rise in buyer sentiment.”
“The Westpac Melbourne Institute Unemployment Expectations Index rose 0.5% in December (recall that higher reads mean more consumers expect unemployment to rise in the year ahead). While this still marks a 5.2% improvement on a year ago, expectations are flattening, suggesting labour market momentum is slowing.”