The surge in consumer confidence from record lows appears to be easing as the nation braces for a slew of coronavirus-blighted data.
The weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence survey rose 1.0 per cent in the past week, consolidating after gains of 7.6 per cent, 9.0 per cent and 10 per cent during the past three weeks following government stimulus packages such as JobKeeper and a flattening of the virus curve.
Confidence slumped to a record low in mid-March following the widespread lockdown and social distancing measures put in place to halt the spread of COVID-19.
ANZ chief economist David Plank on Tuesday said Australia was at an important stage of the coronavirus response as a number of states relax restrictions.
“If successful, that could set the stage for a further gain in consumer sentiment,” Mr Plank said.
“Unfortunately, confidence is likely to be challenged by the publication of some very negative economic data over the coming month after a period in which the data has not caught up with the severity of the economic impact from the lockdowns.”
The confidence survey, based on 1,591 interviews conducted online and over the telephone at the weekend, showed confidence strengthened for the fourth week running, albeit at a much slower rate.
People’s confidence about current finances gained 0.4 per cent, while future finances fell 3.3 per cent – the first decline after four straight weekly gains.
Confidence about current economic conditions strengthened by 13 per cent for the fourth straight weekly gain but future economic conditions declined 5.9 per cent.
CPI data on Wednesday is expected to be weak as holiday travel and petrol prices suffer from the bushfires and COVID-19 disruptions and housing inflation falls broadly flat.