Australians have become considerably more confident about the economy and their financial position.
The Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment recorded a reading of 100.7 for February – the best result in 13 months.
That was up 8.0 per cent on the figure of 93.2 recorded the month before and up 0.5 per cent on the figure of 100.2 recorded the year before.
All five components of the index recorded monthly increases.
There was a 12.0 per cent jump in how Australians assessed their financial position compared to a year ago.
There was also a 7.6 per cent rise in how Australians expect their financial position to fare over the next 12 months.
The survey found a 10.3 per cent rise in expectations for economic conditions over the year ahead and a 13.3 per cent rise in expectations for economic conditions over the next five years.
The sub-index tracking whether or not now was a good time to buy a major household item rose 0.5 per cent.
Westpac chief economist Bill Evans attributed the jump in consumer confidence to lower petrol prices, a surging share market and the Reserve Bank’s recent interest rate cut.
“This is a much stronger result than we had expected. It represents the first time since February last year that we have seen a majority of optimists over pessimists,” Mr Evans said.