Australian consumer confidence hits four-year high

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Australian consumer confidence hit a four-year high this month, according to latest figures from a major economic index released on Wednesday.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment rose from 103.3 in December to 105.1 in January. A reading of 100 on the monthly survey, which takes into account planned spending on major household items and other economic indicators, means that the number of optimists and pessimists among Australian consumers are equal. Readings above 100 mean there are more optimists than pessimists.

The latest rise “adds to the recent run of encouraging news about the health of the household sector” and may reflect the “continued strengthening” in the labor market, economic research consultancy Capital Economics’ Australia and

New Zealand economist Kate Hickie wrote in a response to the figures.
“Overall, consumer confidence is now consistent with real consumption growth accelerating from 2.2 percent last year to 3 percent, or higher, this year.”

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