Australian consumer confidence falls

Sydney, April 10 (IANS) Australian consumer confidence stumbled unexpectedly in April after strong gains in the past two months, a survey released Wednesday by the Westpac Banking Corp and Melbourne Institute found.

The Westpac/Melbourne Institute index of consumer sentiment fell by 5.1 percent in April to 104.9 points, from 110.5 in March, reported Xinhua.

A reading above 100 indicates optimists outnumber pessimists among respondents.

Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said a 5.1 percent fall in consumer sentiment in April was not expected.

“This result emphasizes how fragile consumer confidence has become in the current environment,” he said in a statement Wednesday.

Evans said the combination of global financial concerns and an associated correction in the share market, as well as concerns about a possible rise in interest rates, have dampened confidence.

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