Australian consumer sentiment fell in April

A measure of Australian consumer sentiment eased slightly in April as worries about the future for family finances just managed to offset optimism about the economic outlook.

A Melbourne Institute as well as Westpac Bank survey of 1,0 people published on Wednesday showed its index of consumer sentiment dipped 0.6 percent in April, through March when the item rose 0.2 percent.

The index was still up 3.4 percent on March last year at 102.4, meaning optimists just outnumbered pessimists.

Sluggish wage growth, rising living costs as well as high levels of household debt have been weighing on the consumer mood, offsetting broad-based strength in employment.

The concerns showed in a sharp 5.8 percent drop within the survey’s index of family finances over the next 12 months, which outweighed gains in all the different measures.

Indeed, the index of family finances compared to a year ago rose 2.5 percent. The survey’s barometer of economic conditions over the next 12 months edged up 0.6 percent as well as the outlook for the next several years bounced 2.9 percent.

Consumers remained reluctant to spend freely, with the index of whether the item was a not bad time to buy a major household item down 1.8 percent.

The index on whether the item was a not bad time to buy a dwelling dipped 0.5 percent in April, yet was still up 8 percent on a year ago.

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