Australia Westpac Consumer Sentiment Index was unchanged at 78.5 in March, a second month of extremely weak reading, near historical lows. Areas of most concern remain inflation, interest rates, and the economy.
Westpac noted that there were only one month of sub-80 reading during the COVID pandemic and the global financial crisis period. Runs of sub-80 have only been seen during the recession during the 1980s and 1990s.
Regarding RBA policy, Westpac will wait after release of data on employment, inflation, spending, and confidence, before deciding to change the expectation of a 25bps hike in April. But Westpac maintained the forecast of another 25bps hike in May.