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Matthew Hassan, analyst at Westpac, notes that for the Australian economy, the latest Westpac Red Book finds the consumer mood delicately balanced heading into mid-2019.

Key Quotes

“The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index firmed a touch in April but almost entirely due to a substantial boost from the Federal Budget.”

“Overall, around 15% of consumers expected the Budget to improve their finances; 51% expected no change; 22% expected it to worsen their finances; and 13% reported ‘don’t know’. The ‘net percent’ summary reading show those expecting a positive impact less those expecting a negative one as a proportion of all responses excluding “don’t know’s”. For 2019, the net percent read was -8.5%. While the balance is negative, it is better than last year’s -10.4% and markedly better than previous years (the longer run average looks to be around -29%).”