Petrol hikes dent consumer confidence

Last updated 14:16 18/07/2013

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High petrol prices and the prospect of rising mortgage rates have dented consumers' view of their financial well-being, according to a bank survey.

The latest ANZ-Roy Morgan survey shows confidence slipped four points to 119.8 this month, though it remains at high levels.

A near-record proportion of people still think it is a good time to buy a big household appliance.

The survey showed that for the first time in three months, a greater share of consumers felt they were worse off financially than a year ago. The worse-off totalled 34 per cent, with just 31 per cent saying they were better off than a year ago.

ANZ said rising petrol prices, up 11 cents a litre in the past month, were eating into disposable incomes and so that was probably the reason for the rise in those feeling worse off.

As well, higher longer-term fixed mortgage rates in the month were a "hint of things to come for home owners" the bank said.

Bank economists generally think the Reserve Bank will start lifting official interest rates late this year or early in 2014.

The ANZ confidence survey also shows the numbers expecting to be better off a year from now had fallen.

In June, 50 per cent said they expected to be better off, but that fell to 47 per cent in July. Those expecting to be worse off rose from 17 per cent to 19 per cent.

That left a net balance of 28 per cent expecting to be better off in future.

ANZ said the mid-winter weather did not affect the overall survey results this month. Seasonally adjusted figures all eased to levels seen three months ago.

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