Australia’s April retail sales report is about to be released.
After strengthening in January and February, retail sales underwhelmed in March as higher spending on food was offset by declines in all other categories.
Another weak result is expected today.
Some forecasters even think that spending may have declined, undermined by falling home values and sharply higher petrol prices.
Here’s the state of play.
- In March, sales were unchanged, coming in below 0.2% increase expected by economists.
- Excluding food sales, and providing a better overall indication on discretionary spending patterns, turnover fell by 0.5%, partially unwinding February’s 0.8% increase.
- Despite the unchanged reading in March, annual growth actually accelerated, lifting to 3.2% from 3%, the fastest increase since July last year.
- Over the year, sales ex-food grew by 2.5%, down from 3.2% in the 12 months to February.
- Turnover fell in four of Australia’s eight states and territories. Sales declined in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania but increased in Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
- Today, another weak result is expected.
- Of the 20 economists polled by Bloomberg, the median forecast looks from an increase of 0.3%. Individual forecasts range from a decline of 0.1% to a gain of as much as 0.7%.
- ANZ and the NAB are the two forecasters predicting a decline in sales.
- The NAB’s cashless retail sales index fell by 0.6% in April, pointing to a decline in the official ABS measure of 0.2%.
- “With house price growth continuing to soften, and higher petrol prices eroding household budgets, we expect the consumer to remain under pressure,” said economists at ANZ ahead of the release.
- In the minutes of its May monetary policy meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) board said “household consumption had grown solidly over 2017, and recent data on retail and motor vehicle sales, as well as information from the Bank’s liaison, suggested that this momentum had continued in early 2018”.
The retail sales report will be released at 11.30am AEST.
Business Insider will have all of the facts and figures as soon as it hits the screens.