Sydney lockdown another consumer headache

Just when the mood among Australians appeared to be improving after a jittery few weeks, confidence looks set to be hit again by the COVID-19 lockdown in the nation’s biggest city.

Virus infections in Sydney, which is in the first few days of a 14-day lockdown, have ballooned to 130, while there are also restrictions in Darwin and Western Australia, and the nation’s capital has moved to mandatory mask wearing.

All of which suggests consumer confidence is likely to take a renewed hit.

The weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index – a pointer to future household spending – is due on Tuesday.

In the previous week, the index rose 1.3 per cent following a strong set of labour force figures that saw the jobless rate tumble to 5.1 per cent.

That ended a series of weak or flat confidence outcomes as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne.

Recent data shows that episode hit both retail spending and employment in Victoria.

The Sydney lockdown is estimated to cost the NSW economy $2 billion.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is set to have a lingering impact on the economy for years to come, according to the 2021 Intergenerational Report released on Monday.

The five-yearly report released by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg showed the budget will remain in deficit for the next 40 years with the effects of COVID-19 resulting in a smaller but ageing population and slower economic growth.

“The fact that we are living longer is to be welcomed but the impacts on our economy and our budget are profound,” Mr Frydenberg said.

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