Weekend Economist: Consumer context

Next week consumer confidence figures are due, which will quickly put this week's strong GDP numbers into their proper, less buoyant, context.

Peeling away the layers of this week's strong GDP result reveals a disappointingly soft picture for the Australian household sector. The 1.1 per cent quarterly gain lifted growth nationally to a robust 3.5 per cent annually in the first quarter but was dominated by a surge in resource exports with domestic demand still weak. The transition from mining to non-mining led growth is continuing but looking somewhat shakier as consumer spending remains restrained and a hit to confidence comes through. Indeed, next week's Westpac-MI Consumer Sentiment survey looms as a critical update that will set the tone for the consumer sector through the remainder of 2014.

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