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Australian consumer sentiment improves

Posted on Oct 10, 04:28PM | IANS

Australia's consumer confidence improved only slightly in October, despite recent rate cut by the central bank, a survey showed Wednesday.

The survey was released by Westpac Banking Corp and the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research found.

The Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment increased by 1.0 percent to 99.2 in October, from 98.2 in September. Readings below 100 indicate that pessimists outnumber optimists, reported Xinhua.

Westpac chief economist Bill Evans described the result as "disappointing".

Evans said he was surprised the Reserve Bank's October cash rate cut did not have a significant impact on lifting consumer sentiment.

The Reserve Bank of Australia cut the cash rate by 25 basis points (bps) to 3.25 percent a week ago, citing concerns about the global and domestic economic outlook.

"It is of some concern that the Consumer Sentiment Index is still significantly below its level of last November following the first 25bp cut in the overnight cash rate," Evans said in a statement.

The index has now been below 100 for eight months.

However, Evans said there were some slightly more promising signs in the October survey detail.

"Three of the five components of the Index increased and two were down," he said.

"Encouragingly both components around family finances increased: the sub-indexes tracking views on 'family finances compared to a year ago' was up 5.3 percent and expectations for 'family finances over the next twelve months' was up 2.8 percent."