Consumer sentiment falls

The Westpac/Melbourne Institute index, which surveys consumer confidence, fell by 5.3 per cent in March, however, analysts don’t believe that this is the beginning of the end. Rather, after a 15 per cent increase over the last six months, it appears to be a correction in the index.

The lack of any disturbing economic data during the month, combined with the increase over the last six months, allows us to write of this drop as a abnormality. While a fall of over 10 per cent was seen in the economic expectation index, it is still up over 32 per cent from this time last year. Retail sentiment was still strong, with a 5 per cent increase in the “time to buy a car” Index, and a nominal fall in the “time to buy a dwelling” Index.

So while we have seen a fall in consumer sentiment, we have to wonder whether it was really because of current economic conditions, or due to the constant parade of economic “doom and gloom” merchants.