Enduring COVID-19 outbreaks across the country have pushed consumer confidence into pessimistic territory for the first time since November, according to a weekly gauge compiled by ANZ and Roy Morgan.
The nationwide level slipped 3.1 per cent to 98.6 points, falling below the neutral 100 point mark for the first time in eight months, despite signs of optimism beginning to show in hard-hit Sydney.
While confidence levels slipped 7,5 per cent in Brisbane and 1.6 per cent in Melbourne, which faced new lockdowns last week, Sydney improved 3.7 per cent and confidence in NSW as a whole inched 2.1 per cent higher.
“Sentiment is still above the level reached during Victoria’s long second lockdown, but it is now in pessimistic territory for the first time since early November last year,” said David Plank, head of Australian economics for ANZ.
“Our research suggests we can’t be sure the low in confidence in the current cycle has been reached until COVID case numbers start to trend lower,” he said.