SYDNEY, Sept 14 A measure of Australian consumer
sentiment edged higher in September as an improvement in
personal finances made people more likely to splash out on big
ticket items, a survey showed on Wednesday.
The Melbourne Institute and Westpac Bank survey of
1,200 people found consumer sentiment rose by 0.3 percent in
September from August, when it increased 2 percent.
That left the index up a healthy 8 percent on September last
year at 101.4, with optimists outnumbering pessimists.
Sentiment may have been supported by news last week that
Australia's economy grew 3.3 percent in the year to June,
marking 25 years without a recession.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) also decided last week
to hold rates at a record low of 1.5 percent following cuts in
both August and May.
The impact of falling mortgage rates may have shown in the
survey measure of family finances compared to a year ago, which
rose 3.5 percent in September. The measure of whether this was a
good time to buy major household items also rose a solid 3.5
Other readings were more mixed. The index for finances over
the next 12 months dipped 2.3 percent, after jumping 4.3 percent
The survey showed expectations for the economic outlook over
the next 12 months fell 4.6 percent, while the outlook for the
next five years improved by 1.1 percent.
(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)