Hope rising for consumers
CONSUMER sentiment has risen despite banks increasing rates on interest- only mortgages, but pessimism still rules. The latest WestpacMelbourne Institute Index of consumer sentiment has risen 0.4 per cent to 96.6 in July, compared to 96.2 in June. Westpac’s chief economist Bill Evans said it was the eighth consecutive month for the index to print below 100, which means the pessimists outnumber the optimists. However, he said the lift in the index was a good sign. “Developments around interest rates during the month could have been much more damaging for confidence than what turned out to be the case,” Mr Evans said. He said confidence among survey participants with mortgages actually rose 4.8 per cent.