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Dow Jones Newswires: Australia’s consumer confidence rises for third straight week as gas prices fall

SYDNEY — Australian consumer confidence rose last week, its third consecutive weekly rise, as gasoline prices at the pump fell, taking pressure off stressed household budgets.

Consumer confidence gained 2.1% over the week, according to a survey by ANZ Bank and pollster Roy Morgan.

In line with falling fuel prices, weekly inflation expectations dropped 0.5 percentage points to 5.5%, its lowest level since late May. Its four-week moving average fell 0.1 percentage points to 5.8%, the survey showed.

Sentiment around current financial conditions rose by 0.5%, while future financial conditions increased 5.3%, the survey showed, Current economic conditions gained 1%, while future economic conditions rebounded 3.6%, almost reversing a 3.9% fall the week before.

The rise in confidence came despite news that headline inflation exceeded 6% in the year to June, said ANZ head of Australian economics David Plank.

The only confidence subindex that decreased dealt with the question of whether it is a good time to buy a major household item, which fell 1.5%. Ongoing weakness in the housing market and pressure on household budgets being likely reasons, Plank added.

Despite the gain in in the past three weeks, sentiment remains at a very low level and vulnerable to more policy tightening from the Reserve Bank of Australia, Mr. Plank said.

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