Australia’s consumer confidence index for April is set to be released today with experts predicting a record-breaking plunge of -17.7% to an index score of 75.6, down from March’s 91.9.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced plans to relax pandemic restrictions on business activity beginning in July with hopes of getting the country on track for a swift rebound. Ultimately, the Reserve Bank of Australia forecasts the economy shrinking by 10% in the first half of the year, marking the nation’s first recession in almost three decades.
While the Morrison government has expressed optimism about a “V-shaped” recovery curve, many of Australia’s economic analysts would largely disagree. Expect a more prolonged downturn than previously anticipated and sluggish growth continuing into the short- to medium-term.
Permanent changes in consumption volume due to laws limiting business capacity, as well as declining investor confidence, signals potential difficulty in achieving a quick rebound. While the government has done a considerable job supporting the struggling and unemployed, stimulus packages can only go on for so long before widening budget deficits prove unbearable for future generations. With relief programs set to expire in six months, Australia will embark on its three-step plan with the goal of fully opening the economy by September.
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Ali is a Copy-Editor and Analyst on Daily Brief team, contributing regularly to the Daily Brief. He also leads the Foreign Brief Week in Review multimedia team. He focuses on political and development issues in the Middle East and North Africa.