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Consumption to surge even as real incomes fall

We now expect Australia’s inflation to rise by more than 6% this year. Even allowing for an acceleration in earnings growth and a further solid rise in employment as immigration resumes, that will result in the first annual fall in real household disposable income since the early 1990s. By contrast, we expect gains in nominal disposable income to continue to stay ahead of increases in consumer prices in New Zealand. Even so, we expect Australia’s real consumption growth to outpace New Zealand’s this year, for two key reasons. First, consumer spending in Australia has only just started to surpass its pre-virus peak but is already well above that watermark in New Zealand. Accordingly, there’s more scope for catch-up in Australia. Second, consumer confidence in Australia has softened but has collapsed in New Zealand, where it reached an all-time low in March. We’ve pencilled in a 6% rise in Australia’s consumption this year, well above our forecast of a 2.8% rise in New Zealand. ANZ Drop-in (18th May, 07:00 BST/14:00 SGT): Join economists from our Australia and Markets services shortly after the release of Q1 labour market data for a discussion about the Australian growth, inflation and monetary policy outlook. Register now.
Ben Udy Australia and New Zealand Economist
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