A measure of Australian consumer sentiment suffered a sharp reversal in September as households became more concerned about the outlook for the economy and employment.
The survey of 1,200 people by the Melbourne Institute and Westpac Bank showed the index of consumer sentiment fell a seasonally adjusted 4.6 percent in September, from August when it jumped 3.8 percent.
The index reading of 94.0 was down 15.1 percent on the same month last year, with pessimists exceeding optimists.
"This is a surprising and disappointing result," said Westpac chief economist Bill Evans.
The survey suggested the Coalition government's unpopular budget of welfare reforms, cutbacks and increased charges for services was still weighing on people's minds.
When asked what news they most recalled, respondents cited the budget and taxation ahead of all other subjects. Economic conditions and unemployment followed, with the bulk of the news being considered "unfavorable".