NAB CEO: Household confidence "brittle"

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Cameron Clyne has warned that household confidence could remain brittle if interest rates continue to rise as expected

Delivering a speech to the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce in Sydney, Clyne said most borrowers could probably absorb higher mortgage repayments, but warned of the psychological impact of higher interest rates on household spending.

''Do they perhaps just keep their wallet in their pockets over the next couple of months?'' he speculated.

The SMH reported that Clyne was ''cautiously optimistic'' about an economic recovery, but reminded those attending of Australia's reliance on overseas capital. 

''As long as we see the potential for fragility in other parts of the world we can't stand aside from it,'' Clyne said.

During the speech, Clyne said the bank was weighing up whether it should expand its banking interests in the UK or pull out entirely. NAB holds a 4% stake in the UK market through its ownership of Clydesdale Bank.

Related stories:

NAB cautious on UK opportunities - A forced shake-up of the UK banking sector could present opportunities for NAB, but CEO Cameron Clyne is cautious about increasing its exposure in the region

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