20 Jun 2018

Consumer confidence falls slightly in June quarter

2:38 pm on 20 June 2018

Consumer confidence has fallen in June, helped by a cooling housing market and rising fuel costs eating into household budgets.

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Petrol prices are up which has contributed to a dip in consumer confidence. Photo: 123rf

The Westpac McDermott Miller Confidence Index for the second quarter fell 2.6 points to 108.6 points, down slightly from the March quarter at 111.2 points, which was close to the survey's long-run average.

A reading above 100 indicates more optimists than pessimists.

Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said the small drop in consumer confidence is consistent with recent evidence that the edge has come off the economy's upturn.

"This reflects a general malaise for consumers rather than any specific event that is bothering them.

"The housing market is cooling, the economy is off the boil a bit and petrol prices are up which are all weighing a little bit on consumers minds," he said.

He said the fall was expected.

"The economy was very strong between 2014-16 and it's a little more mixed now and is losing a bit of altitude and the same with the housing market.

"We have been expecting consumers to react and we have been seeing it in slightly slower consumer spending recently and now seeing it in the confidence data."

Mr Stephens said he believed the housing market would continue to weaken and that would become more prominent in consumers minds.

"We could see a further drop away in consumer confidence."

He said it was not anything to panic about.

"It's no terrible thing and might just see a better savings rate."

Mr Stephens said the export side of the economy was still doing very well which was creating a balance to the economy.

"We are moving into a mixed situation rather than the outright positive we had between 2014-16."

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