Anticipation of the government’s stimulus payments has seen consumer sentiment surge over the past month.
The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment, released yesterday, increased by an encouraging 8.3 per cent to 92.7 points this month.
The improvement came in the face of deteriorating job prospects, with the unemployment rate hitting 5.2 per cent – the highest since September 2004.
Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said an influx of positive economic information – aside from unemployment – could have influenced the improvement somewhat, but media coverage of the imminent cash payments was most likely to be buoying consumer expectations.
Despite the improvement Mr Evans said the disturbing signals for unemployment would likely see the index retreat to new lows before sustaining a real recovery.
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