Matthew Hassan, analyst at Westpac, notes that Australia’s Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment rose 4.3% to 103.8 in February from 99.6 in January.

Key Quotes

“Sentiment has recovered after a shaky start to the year. The previous survey in January had shown a sharp pull back, the Index dipping into pessimistic territory for the first time since late 2017. The February lift takes the Index back into ‘cautiously optimistic’ territory. While that may indicate some of last month’s decline was holiday season noise, the survey detail suggests the Reserve Bank’s recent shift in tone has also played a part.”

“Stepping back from the month to month moves, confidence continues to bear up well in the face of significant headwinds.”

“All index components recorded gains between January and February, in most cases reversing the bulk of the previous month’s decline.”

“On the economy, the ‘economic outlook, next 12mths’ sub-index rebounded 7%, reversing most of last month’s 7.8% drop, which was the biggest fall in over three years. The ‘economic outlook, next 5yrs’ sub-index also rose 3.8%, reversing most of a sizeable 5.9% decline in January. Both sub-indexes remain slightly below their December levels but are comfortably above longer run averages. Despite the softer tone and shaky start to 2019, views on the economy remain a support for consumer sentiment.”

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