20 January 2010

Consumer confidence in Australian economy jumps to highest level in six months

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Australian consumer confidence rose in January by the most in six months, according to a Westpac Banking Corp. and Melbourne Institute Survey.

Australian economy

Confidence in the Australian economy has been spurred by an increase in employment in the mining and energy sectors.

The sentiment index climbed 5.6 percent to 120.1 points, with the surge in confidence in the Australian economy coming during Australia’s biggest hiring period as many companies expand within the mining and energy sectors.

 “This is a very strong result,” Bill Evans, chief economist at Westpac Bank in Sydney told Bloomberg.

Sentiment is still “above its level of last September, prior to the Reserve Bank’s record three consecutive rate increases” he said.

Households also appear to have comfortable absorbed the higher interest rates, with the consumer confidence among households paying a mortgage jumping to the highest level since 1994, when Westpac began measuring confidence based on home ownership.

The survey of 1,200 consumers conducted between 11 and 17 January.

Positive employment figures are also continuing with Australia’s jobless rate dropping in December to an eight- month low of 5.5 percent after employers added 135,700 jobs in the four months through 31 December. 


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