21 Mar 2016

Consumer confidence eases a shade but still solid

3:17 pm on 21 March 2016

Consumer confidence has eased slightly in the first three months of the year, but low interest rates and a solid economy are supporting sentiment.

The Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Index fell by a point to 109.6 in the three months ended March.

A reading above 100 indicates more optimists than pessimists.

Westpac senior economist Satish Ranchhod said gloomy international headlines and falling dairy prices had weighed on consumers.

But he said that had been offset by an economy that was still performing quite strongly, and lower interest rates were still tempting people to buy big-ticket items.

Mr Ranchhod said he expected that sentiment would remain relatively buoyant for the rest of the year.