A little wariness appears to have returned to households with consumer confidence dipping to a four-year low.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence index for September fell 4 points to 114, a level below its historical average, with consumers downbeat about current conditions, and even more so about the future.

“It is a little bit under par now but still relatively robust,” said ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner.

“Interestingly the decline was lead by a little more wariness about the future but it seems to be more concern about the economy as a whole rather than about people’s own individual situation at this point.”

The September fall followed a rise of a couple of points in August.

There was somewhat of a contradiction in the numbers, with the proportion of households who felt it was a good time to buy a major household item rising by 2 points.

“Perhaps if you were cynical you could say that households are like gosh I better rush out and buy that new car while I’ve still got a job.

“It’s a little bit counterintuitive but in actual fact the households are in a pretty good space.”

Zollner said a tight labour market was helping to support confidence although deteriorating employment indicators were a risk.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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