By Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)
It’s being called the “Turnbull effect” when it comes to the growing confidence among Australians but it could equally be described as the “Teflon factor”.
The latest consumer sentiment reading shows only a modest easing after a weekend serving of intense media coverage of the shocking events in Paris, leaving confidence close to a near two-year high.
The weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence gauge, taken on Saturday and Sunday, eased by 0.6 per cent, but it is still comfortably above its monthly average spanning back to 1990.
“This is a good sign ahead of the critical Christmas retail season,” ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan said releasing the report on Tuesday.
The survey would have taken into account last week’s unexpectedly strong labour force report that showed the jobless rate tumbling below six per cent.
Confidence has been on the rise since Malcolm Turnbull toppled Tony Abbott as prime minister in September, with consumers taking in their stride increased mortgage rates and the growing talk that the government may put up the rate of a broader GST to 15 per cent.
Opinion polls have also swung behind Mr Turnbull, the latest Fairfax-Ipsos poll showing the coalition extending its two-party preferred lead over Labor to 56-44 per cent.
Mr Turnbull’s own standing as preferred prime minister has sky-rocketed to 69 per cent compared to just 18 per cent for Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
Confidence will play a role in the Reserve Bank’s interest-rate thinking in coming months.
The minutes of the central bank’s November 3 board meeting, also released on Tuesday, reiterated that the inflation outlook “may afford some scope for further easing of monetary policy, should that be appropriate”.
But it still anticipates economic growth strengthening gradually over the next two years as the drag on growth from falling mining investment wanes and activity progressively shifts to non-mining sectors.
Treasurer Scott Morrison is keen to get the economy growing at three per cent again after expanding by just 2.3 per cent in the last financial year.
“That’s what we need to get to,” he told Melbourne’s 3AW radio.
“It is a process of growing the economy, growing revenue and controlling expenditure and that will deliver a budget balance over the cycle.”
G20 leaders, including Mr Turnbull, in their final communique of the Turkish summit reaffirmed the Brisbane 2014 commitment to a collective extra two per cent growth target by 2018, even though growth remains uneven and weaker than expected globally.