Australia Consumer Confidence Falls Amid Omicron Surge

Consumer confidence in Australia fell this month as worries about the surge in COVID-19 cases sent spending sentiment to its lowest January level since 1992, according to new economic surveys.

Consumer confidence fell 7.6 percent last week after infections of the Omicron variant exploded across Australia, the latest ANZ-Roy Morgan survey reported.

Sentiment in all states fell below the neutral level of 100 and below confidence levels during the Delta surge. January’s 97.9 reading is the lowest since 1992, when Australia was struggling with high unemployment levels, and came at a time of the year when sentiment is expected to be upbeat.

All subindices also fell, with current financial conditions dropping 11.3 percent and the number of respondents saying now was “the time to buy a major household item” fell 11.4 percent. Sentiment on current economic conditions declined 7.6 percent.

Household confidence on their future financial conditions slipped 4.3 percent, with a 3.9 percent decrease on future economic conditions.

Head of Australian economics at ANZ, David Plank, said “people are spooked by Omicron – obviously, case numbers, deaths unfortunately – and the difficulty of getting tested. All of that has made people apprehensive and nervous.”

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