10/09/2012 - 15:39

Costs concerns crunch consumer confidence

10/09/2012 - 15:39

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Consumer confidence in Western Australia has fallen to its lowest level since the global financial crisis, with only 37 per cent of respondents to a survey released today saying they expect improved economic conditions over the next year.

The Curtin University-Chamber of Commerce and Industry Survey of Consumer Confidence, released this morning, said record growth levels for the state economy was having little effect on confidence in WA.

Just 18 per cent of respondents said they expected better conditions in the next three months, down from 26 per cent in June.

CCI chief economist John Nicolaou said rising living costs were the primary issue for 58 per cent of households, followed by concerns about the global economy and the political environment.

The number of households reporting to be in a better position than this time last year fell, from 31 per cent, to 27 per cent, with discretionary spending slashed.

The higher cost of living pressures has resulted in less than one third of households increasing savings over the period.

“Although consumers are saving less, they are still looking to reduce debt levels, with just 21 per cent of households indicating an increase in debt load from this time last year,” Mr Nicolaou said.

“The rise in uncertainty has crossed over into the jobs market, with 86 per cent of consumers not actively seeking to change jobs.”

Mr Nicolaou said managing the family budget appeared to be the biggest factor affecting consumer perception.

“More people in this survey are focused on cost of living pressures and are spending more on essential items, and this is flowing through to how much they are spending on discretionary items and larger purchases, like housing.”

 

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