Australian consumer confidence is on the up and up. This week's Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence rating has risen to 118.8pts (up 3.3pts in a week). However, that figure is still 6.6pts lower than this time a year ago.

“Consumer Confidence has continued to improve as Australians gained confidence, about their personal financial situation and prospects for the Australian economy over the next five years,” Gary Morgan says.

The report shows Australians are getting more comfortable with their personal financial situation, with 30% of Australians saying their family is ‘better off financially’ than this time last year.

And prospects for the future look good, with consumers keeping a positive attitude. 40% of Australians expect their family to be ‘better off financially’ this time next year.

Morgan says the Japanese earthquake and tsunami had the potential to affect the results, but was unlikely to be a key influencer.

“Although interviewing for this week’s Consumer Confidence was conducted after the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan last Friday afternoon,” Morgan says, “the full extent of the damage to Japan and the Japanese economy was not yet known and nor were the problems relating to the Japanese nuclear plant at Fukushima.”

Meanwhile, in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes in New Zealand, the latest Westpac McDermott Miller index shows consumer confidence in New Zealand has fallen 10.4 points in the March quarter compared to the December quarter last year. This is a sharp drop and indicates more negative attitudes about spending than positive.