Australian consumer sentiment remains at historic lows in October

By James Glynn

SYDNEY — Australian consumer confidence continued to plunge to historic lows in October as rising costs of living, rising interest rates and heightened concerns about the economic outlook undermined the trust.

Consumer sentiment fell 0.9% to 83.7 in October from September, according to a monthly survey by Westpac and the Melbourne Institute.

Consumer confidence remains in deeply pessimistic territory, at a level comparable to lows briefly reached during the pandemic and prolonged weakness experienced during the global financial crisis, said Westpac chief economist Bill Evans.

October’s outcome could have been much worse had the Reserve Bank of Australia chosen to raise the official exchange rate by 50 basis points last week instead of 25 basis points, Evans added.

Financial market prices had indicated another 50 basis point move in October by the RBA, following four consecutive increases of 50 basis points in June, July, August and September.

Sentiment among those sampled ahead of the RBA’s decision a week ago showed a depressing 77.4, down 8.3% from the September print, Mr Evans added.

If that had been the overall result for the month, it would have been the second weakest since the early 1990s recession, with the only weaker reading in recent times being when the pandemic shock hit in April 2020, he said. declared.

Write to James Glynn at [email protected]; @JamesGlynnWSJ