Consumer confidence lifts despite share market turmoil

A key measure of consumer sentiment has rebounded this month, returning to a level where optimists outnumber pessimists.

The Westpac - Melbourne Institute of consumer sentiment jumped by 4.2 per cent in February to 101.3 points, up from 97.3 in January.

A reading of 100 points is the level at which optimists equal pessimists.

There have been only five months over the past two years where glass half-full optimists have outnumbered pessimists.

The latest survey also found that people's assessment of their family finances over the next year was also strong, up by 3.8 per cent for the month.

The retail sub-index was also encouraging, with the "time to buy a major household item" measure rising 3.1 per cent.

However, there was a significant swing in sentiment around the real estate market.

The house price expectations index lifted by 20.5 per cent in January, but fell by 12.5 per cent this month.

The survey notes that the overall figures for January were interpreted as being due to falls in the local share market and volatility in the oil price, and these measures have continued to weaken this month.

Source: ABC News

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