Consumer sentiment hits 10-year high

The latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index has leapt 4.5 per cent, rising across all five of its components. The survey, which was taken last weekend, came after a month of record share prices, falling petrol prices, stable interest rates and a firming Australian dollar. It also followed the Federal Government's announcement of $600 lump-sum family payments, the $3,000 baby bonus and raised tax thresholds for people earning more than $52,000 a year.

Economists believe, however, that the index's rise is not just due to a one-off reaction to government payments. Other indicators suggest firming domestic conditions and robust growth in the global economy.