Major household item buying index slumps

The number of consumers who think now is a good time to buy a major household item has hit a 10-year low, an ANZ survey suggests, confounding economists’ expectations.

The overall ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence index was up 0.7 per cent, regaining some ground after a 3.5 per cent drop in the previous week, with respondents’ perception of the economic outlook for the next 12 months gaining 3.6 per cent and sentiment about the next five years up 1.0 per cent.

The weekly measure of consumer mood, which is based on about 1,000 face-to-face interviews conducted on Saturdays and Sundays, recorded a sharp 3.8 per cent fall in its “time to buy a household item” metric to its lowest level since 2009.

ANZ economist Felicity Emmett said the small rise in overall confidence for the week still left it well below its long run average.

“The weakness in the time-to-buy-a-household-item index is particularly disappointing, given that tax cuts should be supporting this measure,” she said.

Analysts from all four of the big banks expect the Reserve Bank of Australia to announce another cut to the cash rate, which is already at an unprecedented low of 1.0 per cent, on October 1.

But the results of the ANZ-Roy Morgan poll, a measure the RBA monitors closely along with the monthly Westpac-Melbourne Institute survey, point to relatively subdued sentiment.

“So far, though, consumers seem impervious to both fiscal and monetary stimulus, and the combination of weak wage growth and high levels of debt may prove to be the more dominant driver of confidence and spending,” Ms Emmett said.

AAP

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