Australian consumer confidence at a 30-year low

By Paige Murphy | 25 March 2020

Australian consumers' confidence fell by 27.8% last week, according to the latest ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Rating.

This fall has brought the rating to just above the all-time lows recorded in 1990.

Confidence is 17% below the lowest point seen during the global financial crisis (GFC) in October 2008.

Confidence in sub-components of the survey including ‘current financial conditions’ fell 23.9% while ‘future financial conditions’ dropped 25.8%.

The economic conditions subindices were also down sharply, with ‘current economic conditions’ falling 37.1% and ‘future economic conditions’ declining by 19.1%.

‘Time to buy a major household item’ fell the most, dropping by 37.2%.

The four-week moving average for ‘inflation expectations’ was stable at 4.0%.

ANZ head of Australian economics David Plank says consumer confidence has only been lower than this during the 1990 to 1991 recession.

"The increasingly negative news about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Australia has had a dramatic impact on consumer sentiment, with confidence showing its biggest ever fall since the survey moved to a weekly basis in 2008," Plank says.

"The plunge was broad-based, with all sub-components of sentiment well below average and well below the levels seen during the GFC.

"Only the levels seen during the 1990-91 recession are comparable. We should note that the coronavirus has necessitated a change in the survey methodology, away from face-to-face to phone and online interviews. It is possible that this impacted the results, though the consistency of the responses suggests this is unlikely."

This weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Rating is based on 1,715 interviews conducted online and over the telephone during the weekend of March 21 and 22

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