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Oz consumers feel the pinch

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  • Oz consumers feel the pinch

    Oz consumers feel the pinch
    5:00AM Thursday March 13, 2008

    SYDNEY - Higher interest rates and rising food and fuel costs saw consumer sentiment collapse in March to its lowest level in almost 15 years, a survey says.

    The Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index fell 9.1 per cent in March, to 88.6 points.

    The index, which is based on a survey of 1200 people, is below the 100 level, showing that pessimists outnumber optimists.

    The index is 23.3 per cent below its level a year ago and at its lowest level since September 1993. It is also the first time since March 2001 the index has dropped below 90 points.

    While March was the month where the Reserve Bank of Australia completed back-to-back rate rises, Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said the result could not just be "attributed to shock effect of consecutive moves".

    "Gloom over the increases in interest rates has probably been compounded by additional mortgage rate increases by lenders and speculation that there is more to come," Evans said.

    - AAP
    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx