CPI figures suggest Aussies still careful with debit cards

The August Consumer Price Index (CPI) data suggests that Aussies are still reticent to break out their debit cards and go on spending sprees.

According to figures from the Westpac-Melbourne Institute, the index fell 3.5 per cent last month, taking it down to the lowest level seen since May 2009.

It follows a drop of 8.3 per cent in July and follows the financial turmoil seen at the start of 2011.

However, chief economist at Westpac Bill Evans observed that the index had already declined by 1.6 per cent before this occurred, adding that the problems could add "another dimension of risk to consumers".

He asserted that the fall in consumer sentiment and the data from the months before "clearly points to the consumer remaining cautious".

On August 2nd, the central bank announced that interest rates would remain at 4.75 per cent for another month, marking the ninth successive month in which it remained unchanged.

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