June 13, 2018 / 5:43 AM / 9 months ago

Australia consumer sentiment picks up in June

FILE PHOTO: A man pays his bill at a coffee shop in Sydney's central business district (CBD) Australia, February 5, 2018. Picture taken February 5, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A measure of Australian consumer sentiment increased marginally in June after two straight monthly declines as consumers felt more confident about their current and future family finances.

A Melbourne Institute and Westpac Bank (WBC.AX) survey of 1,200 people published on Wednesday showed its index of consumer sentiment climbed 0.3 percent in June from May, when it fell 0.6 percent.

The index was up 6.1 percent on June last year at 102.2, meaning optimists just outnumbered pessimists.

The June survey was conducted in the week when consumers heard that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) held its cash rates at a record low 1.50 percent and the economy expanded at a brisk 1.0 percent pace in the March quarter.

“While the improved tone to sentiment compared to last year is welcome, the mix is still not pointing to a sustained lift in consumer demand,” said Westpac Senior Economist Matthew Hassan.

“That will be mildly disappointing for the RBA with their forecast for above trend growth this year and next resting in part on a lift in consumption growth.”

A separate weekly measure by ANZ-Roy Morgan bounced a strong 5.6 percent last week.

Reporting by Swati Pandey; editing by Richard Pullin

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