The Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment fell from 101.7 in November to 100.8 in December. But the Index is 10.7% above its levels this time last year. There have only been two months since January 2014 with higher Index readings.


In the December survey, respondents were asked about news items and if they viewed them as favourable or unfavourable.


Common responses were: ‘economic conditions’ (48% of respondents); ‘Budget and taxation’ (42.8%); ‘interest rates’ (24.3%); and ‘international conditions’ (20%).


The most important change was around ‘Budget and taxation’ with the proportion of respondents recalling news on this topic doubling since September and the news assessed as considerably less favourable.


Survey respondents viewed news on interest rates more favourably than in September.