Australians concerned over interest rate rises

Consumer confidence has fallen this month, reflecting fears about official interest rate rises.

A survey of 1,200 people by Westpac Bank and the Melbourne Institute revealed that the index of consumer sentiment fell by 2.6 per cent in February, Reuters reported.

The index showed that concerns about future rate rises undermined any optimism about the economy.

In addition, Australian Bureau of Statistics data has shown that the demand for home loans fell for the third consecutive month in December.

Speaking to the news provider, Su-Lin Ong, a senior economist at RBC Capital Markets, suggested that the findings had prompted the Reserve Bank to keep interest rates steady this month and delay any decision about future rises. This may affect people who are planning to compare home loans in the future.

"While both data sets are easing from some lofty levels and remain reasonably firm, the risk is that it gives the RBA an excuse to stay sidelined for a little longer as it awaits further data to gauge the impact of its policy decisions," said the analyst.

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