Matthew Hassan, analyst at Westpac, notes that Australian Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment fell 4.1% to 96.5 in July from 100.7 in June.
“The fall in sentiment this month is troubling as it comes against what should have been a supportive backdrop for confidence. The last month has seen a further 25bp interest rate cut from the RBA, the Federal government’s tax package pass through Parliament, more signs that the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets are stabilising and even some more improvement in the US-China trade dispute. Despite these positives, Australian consumer confidence has fallen to a two year low.”
“The main driver continues to be deepening concerns about the outlook for the Australian economy and prospects for family finances. The index components show the biggest decline in the sub-index tracking expectations for the ‘economy, next 12 months’ which slumped 12.3% to be down 16.4% since May to its lowest level in four years. Longer term expectations for the economy were also pared back sharply, the ‘economy, next 5 years’ sub-index falling 6.7%.”
“Deteriorating expectations for the economy outweighed any near term support from the prospect of lower interest rates and tax relief.”