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Australia Consumer Confidence Declines On Financial Concerns

4/10/2012 11:55 PM ET

Confidence among Australian households weakened in April as they remained concerned about the state of their own financial conditions, a key survey revealed Wednesday.

The Westpac Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index fell 1.6 percent to 94.5 in April from 96.1 in March. The index is now at its lowest level since August 2011 when consumers were wary about the global outlook and warnings from the Reserve Bank of higher interest rates, Westpac's Chief Economist Bill Evans said.

He noted that the result comes as a mild surprise with conditions in the global economy improving and commentators interpreting the Reserve Bank Governor's latest statement as hinting strongly that rates are likely to be cut next month.

According to the economist, the Reserve Bank disappointed many last week by not delivering a much needed rate cut, but the guidance from the RBA statement was quite encouraging.

Respondents seem particularly perturbed about the state of their own finances. The index tracking views on family finances compared to a year ago slumped 14.4 percent and the index of expectations for family finances over the next 12 months fell 4.1 percent.

In contrast, the indicator measuring views on economic conditions over the next 12 months rose 0.8 percent and the index on consumers' propensity to buy a major household item jumped 4.3 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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