Consumer Confidence at Lowest Level

ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner

According to an ANZ survey, consumers’ confidence in the economic outlook has sunk to a lower level than when Covid first struck and the nadir it experienced during the Global Finance Crisis in 2008.

The bank said its consumer confidence index crashed 16 points in February to stand at 82 points, which was lowest the index has been since the bank began the surveys in 2004.

ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner said it was “remarkable” confidence was lower than when Covid first struck early in 2020, “when the uncertainty was so extreme”.

A net 2 percent of people expected in February to be worse off in a year’s time, which is the first time that measure has fallen into negative territory in ANZ’s survey. The proportion of people who thought it was a good time to buy a major household item sank 17 points, with a net 21 per cent saying it wasn’t.

Zollner was hopeful there could be a quick bounce back in confidence, but said that “even without Omicron” there was a lot of head-wind.

“This month’s data looks grim, but there are undoubtedly some temporary impacts in there,” the bank said in its commentary.

“Time will tell what the other side looks like, but we do know that Omicron is fast and furious and will blow through relatively quickly.”