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Has consumer confidence really surged? Pete Wargent

Westpac’s Consumer Sentiment Index leapt by some 8 percent in February from 93.2 to 100.7.

This is the strongest reading since January 2014 and take the index back into positive territory (i.e. optimists outweighing pessimists), apparently buoyed on by an interest rate cut, a rising share market and the decline in fuel prices.

Consumer sentiment index

 

The “time to buy a dwelling index” jumped by 9.7 points to 125.8, while there was also a 6.7 percent jump in house price expectations.

In fact, there were a raft of stronger readings in February,

 

Consumer sentiment

 

The headline result is not entirely convincing given the amount of uncertainty (the Reserve Bank used the words “uncertain” and “uncertainty” a couple of dozen times in its latest Statement in Monetary Policy) surrounding the economy, not to mention a leadership spill motion in the past week.

Perhaps this implies that consumers would be untroubled by a change in Prime Minister.

Personally I think weekly consumer confidence gauges are overkill, and the monthly gauges have a better “rhythm” to them.

However the way the world is moving it’s probably only a matter of time before Australia has weekly and then hourly confidence indices.

I am tinkering with the idea of setting up my own “champagne index” to record the number of folk up here quaffing the bubbles on Brisbane’s Riverside.

Monday, Tuesday…Queenslanders certainly don’t appear shy about a six o’clock swill before heading home, no matter what day of the week.

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About

Pete Wargent is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Secretary and has a Financial Planning Diploma. He’s achieved financial freedom at the age of 33 - as detailed in his book ‘Get a Financial Grip – A Simple Plan for Financial Freedom’. Pete now manages his investment portfolio, travels and works as a consultant in the finance industry from time to time. Visit his blog


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