Consumer sentiment has fallen to its lowest point since December 2014, according to the latest instalment of the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment, released this morning.
The index fell to 92.2 points this month, down 3.2% from June’s reading of 95.3 points.
Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said in a statement the index is “now firmly in the range where pessimists outnumber optimists”, but given the events dominating the global economy, he said it is no surprise.
“We had a taste for households’ sensitivity to disturbing news around European instability in December 2011 when the index tumbled by 8.4% from 103.4 to 94.7 points,” Evans said.
“This time the concerns around Greece have been complemented by sensational coverage of the collapse in the Chinese share market.”
But despite the clear influence of international events, Evans said underlying consumer confidence in Australia “remains consistently low”.
ASIC bans SMSF auditor
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has disqualified an auditor of self-managed super funds, after it found he audited three funds inadequately.
ASIC said in a statement on Tuesday Peter Brennan of Bangor, New South Wales, has been disqualified from being an approved SMSF auditor.
The corporate watchdog’s investigation related to three SMSFs audited by Brennan in 2011 and 2012. Brennan was found to have failed to obtain appropriate audit evidence about the funds’ compliance with the relevant legislation, the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.
This subsequently meant he did not identify a number of contraventions by those funds.
“As the SMSF sector continues to grow in popularity with Australian investors, it is critical that approved SMSF auditors perform their role adequately,” ASIC commissioner John Price said in the statement.
“ASIC will continue to work with the ATO in acting to identify and remove auditors whose audit quality performance falls short.”
Shares up on open
Aussie shares have traded slightly higher this as the market heads into the afternoon trading session.
The S&P benchmark was up 0.9%, rising 53.1 points to 5630.5 points at 12.07pm AEST. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones closed up 0.42%, rising 75.9 points to 18053.6 points.