Latest News
Hot Issues
Tax Time Checklists - Individuals; Company; Trust; Partnership; and Super Funds
Compare your business
2024 Year End Tax Planning Guide (Part 2)
ATO to crack down on rental income, WFH deductions this tax time
How to Draft a Standard Form Contract
GST, PAYG withholding a ‘significant portion’ of $50bn tax debt
ATO changes will make it harder for over 42,000 small businesses.
The Deadliest pandemics in History
Budget breakdown – Federal Government Analysis
Winners & Losers
Federal Budget 2024
2024 Year End Tax Planning Guide (Part 1)
Medicare levy surcharge OR basic health insurance ?
ATO warns of ‘serious penalties’ for unlawful tax scheme promoters
ACCC scam report
Employees taking more sick days - and it's getting worse
Foreign residents selling property in Australia
How much does negative gearing really cost – an overview and an opinion?
The Shortest-reigning Monarchs in History
FBT Reminder – Odometer Reading
ATO’s debts on hold campaign prompts new IGTO guidance
A comprehensive collection of small business benchmarks
The 2025 Financial Year tax & super changes you need to know!
Underperforming employees: When can you terminate?
A comprehensive list of guides to industry specific tax deductions.
‘Renewed concerns’ about economy sees consumer sentiment dip: Westpac
Oldest Buildings in the World.
Small businesses may ‘collapse under strain of payday super’, IPA warns
ATO’s hands tied with scrapping on-hold debts, expert says
Current Articles
Vimeo test
Articles archive
Quarter 1 January - March 2024
Quarter 4 October - December 2023
Quarter 3 July - September 2023
Quarter 2 April - June 2023
Quarter 1 January - March 2023
Quarter 4 October - December 2022
Quarter 3 July - September 2022
Quarter 2 April - June 2022
Quarter 1 January - March 2022
Quarter 4 October - December 2021
Quarter 3 July - September 2021
Quarter 2 April - June 2021
Quarter 1 January - March 2021
Quarter 4 October - December 2020
Quarter 3 July - September 2020
Quarter 2 April - June 2020
Quarter 1 January - March 2020
Quarter 4 October - December 2019
Quarter 3 July - September 2019
Quarter 2 April - June 2019
Quarter 1 January - March 2019
Quarter 4 October - December 2018
Quarter 3 July - September 2018
Quarter 2 April - June 2018
Quarter 1 January - March 2018
Quarter 4 October - December 2017
Quarter 3 July - September 2017
Quarter 2 April - June 2017
Quarter 1 January - March 2017
Quarter 4 October - December 2016
Quarter 3 July - September 2016
Quarter 2 April - June 2016
Quarter 1 January - March 2016
Quarter 4 October - December 2015
Quarter 3 July - September 2015
Quarter 2 April - June 2015
Quarter 1 January - March 2015
Quarter 4 October - December 2014
‘Renewed concerns’ about economy sees consumer sentiment dip: Westpac

Consumers remain deeply pessimistic about the near-term outlook for the economy despite signs of improvement last month, says the major bank.



The Westpac Consumer Sentiment Index fell 1.8 per cent to 84.4 in March with concerns still worried about the outlook for the economy.

Westpac said while there were promising signs last month that the consumer gloom that has dominated the past two years was beginning to lift, the March survey indicates that progress is “slow at best”.

“Consumers are still deeply pessimistic and becoming more concerned about the economy’s near-term outlook,” the Westpac Consumer Sentiment report stated.

The index indicated renewed concerns about the economic outlook.


Four of the five sub-indexes recorded declines in March, with the biggest move being a 4.5 per cent fall in the economic outlook.

The next biggest decline was the next 12 months sub-index which offset just over half of the gain from February.

“Assessments of family finances and ‘time to buy a major household item’ also retraced some of their February gains, with all still well below long run average levels despite some modest net improvement over the last six months,” Westpac said.

“The only positive was around the ‘economic outlook, next 5 years’ sub-index which edged up 1.1 per cent to be at 94, slightly above the long run average of 92.”

The major bank said responses to the survey suggest that sentiment made a sharp turnaround following the RBA decision.

“Sentiment amongst those surveyed prior to the decision came in at a much stronger 94.9 compared to 79.3 amongst those surveyed post-decision – almost identical to the swing recorded in February,” the report said.

“The implication is that while few would have been expecting rates to be cut, many consumers may have been hoping for a more positive message on inflation and the interest rate outlook.

“However, the RBA Governor was still not ruling out the possibility of further rate rises following the March meeting.”

Westpac Group senior economist Matthew Hassan said the RBA’s commentary looks to be tempering consumer expectations for interest rates as well, with fears of rate hikes easing but few expecting rate cuts any time soon.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Mortgage Rate Expectations Index, which tracks consumer expectations for variable mortgage rates over the next 12 months, dipped 0.5 per cent to 120.9.

“The mix of responses shows 40 per cent of consumers are still bracing for rate increases, 22 per cent expect no change, 22 per cent expect declines and 15 per cent simply “don’t know,” said Hassan.

Hassan said consumers remain relatively comfortable about the outlook for jobs, however.

“The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Unemployment Expectations Index rose slightly, by 1 per cent, in February but at 128.1 is still in line with the long run average of 129,” he said.

“Readings remain consistent with a softening in labour market conditions rather than a sharp rise in job losses.”

Housing-related sentiment improved slightly overall for the month with another lift in assessments of time to buy and price expectations holding at optimistic levels.




Miranda Brownlee
27 March 2024

Privacy Policy | Disclaimer