The latest Westpac-MI consumer sentiment index for December has risen 3.6 per cent to 103.3.
This is a rebound, 5 per cent above the average for the September quarter when consumer spending slumped.
“This result is supportive of the view that consumer confidence may have bottomed out during that September quarter,” Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said.
He put it down to less concern about the prospect of interest rate rises.
“During that September quarter households were spooked by media and many commentators saying that interest rates were likely to start rising in the new year. That effect has now calmed down significantly.”
He said coverage of the government bringing in tax cuts would have also lifted the numbers.
“With the labour market remaining strong respondents are generally more confident about the domestic economy and there is likely to have been a ‘feelgood effect’ from the passing of marriage equality legislation,” Mr Evans said.
“Media coverage of tax cuts in the US combined with easing tensions in North Korea, may also be supporting an improved outlook for international conditions.”