The West

Consumer confidence on the up
Consumer confidence on the up

There are tentative signs confidence among WA shoppers has turned the corner as evidence grows the economy is safely making the transition away from the mining boom.

The latest measure of WA consumer confidence, to be released today by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, shows a fall in the number of shoppers who believe the economy is set to deteriorate.

Confidence nosedived at the start of the year and had remained moribund after the Federal and State Budgets.

Though pessimists still outnumber optimists, the survey found a five-percentage-point drop in the number of people who believed the economy would slip and a one percent increase in the number who expect the State economy to mend.

High-living costs continue to be the main concern of those quizzed, with the current political environment and domestic economic news also key issues.

Despite the concerns, personal finances remain largely stable, while 41 per cent said they had increased their savings over the past year.

The survey came as the impact of the wind-down in the mining boom was evident in the latest measure of GDP.

The national economy grew 0.5 per cent in the three months to the end of June, giving Australia an annual growth rate of 3.1 per cent.

In WA, the measure of State final demand fell for the third consecutive quarter, dropping 0.3 per cent.

That came after a 0.9 per cent fall in the March quarter and a 0.6 per cent drop in the December quarter.

All of the fall was because of the drop in mining capital spending.

Nationally, the economy grew largely on the back of an increase in business inventories.

If not for the lift from inventories, economic growth would have been negative.

Net exports, after boosting growth at the start of the year, subtracted 0.9 percentage points from the overall result.

The national accounts also reveal the fall in commodity prices is eroding national income, which is likely to hit company profits collected by the Federal Government.

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said the figures showed the economy was travelling "OK" but in a transition away from its heavy dependence on mining to other sectors.

The West Australian

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