Australian consumer confidence jumps after change of leader

AP News
Posted: Sep 23, 2015 1:43 AM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian consumer confidence has jumped following the ouster of the country's unpopular prime minister last week by a moderate rival.

The optimism of Australians rose 8.7 percent in the latest ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence survey published on Tuesday.

The survey was conducted last weekend after Tony Abbot was replaced as leader of the ruling Liberal Party and prime minister by Malcolm Turnbull in a vote of government lawmakers.

Lack of economic leadership from Abbott was one reason for his unpopularity. Australia's economy has suffered from China's slowdown, the main market for mainstay exports of iron ore and coal.

Turnbull is already claiming to have boosted business confidence but has given no timetable for policy measures that would promote productivity, business confidence and investment in a sluggish economy.

"We have already seen a rise in business confidence because we have a government that is talking confidently about our future and is talking optimistically about our future and indicating if not the precise policies — because I've only been prime minister for a week — but the outcomes we seek to achieve," Turnbull told Sky News television on Wednesday.

Chris Richardson, a partner in Deloitte Access Economics, said while he was not aware of which business confidence surveys Turnbull referred to, he suspected the prime minister was correct.

The Australian Industry Group, a business advocacy group, said its surveys of manufacturing, services and construction industries had shown expansion in recent months which fed improved business confidence generally.

"A new prime minister who talks innovation, growth and belief in the markets will always provide a boost to business confidence," Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said.

Turnbull's office did not immediately provide the business confidence data that he relied on.

Turnbull, a former merchant banker and venture capitalist, said his economic policies had to be decided by his Cabinet which was appointed on Monday.

Goldman Sachs warned this month that Australia faced a one-in-three chance of falling into recession in the current fiscal year which began on July 1.