SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian consumer sentiment fell again in January as bushfires ravaged the country killing 29 people, millions of animals and destroying thousands of homes, a troubling omen for the country’s struggling economy.
Wednesday’s survey showed the Melbourne Institute and Westpac Bank
The index was down a hefty 6.2% from a year earlier, and at 93.4 indicated pessimists continued to outnumber optimists.
“Confidence has been further eroded by the bushfires but because the index was starting from such a modest level it was likely that the fall in confidence would be less than some may have expected,” Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said in a statement.
“This low level of confidence is consistent with the generally lacklustre reports on consumer spending.”
(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Stephen Coates)