After contributing a handy 0.4 percentage points to Australia’s mammoth 1.1% Q1 GDP increase, markets will get their first indication on how household consumption started the June quarter today with the release of retail sales figures for April.
Here’s the state of play.
- For the first time since November 2015, retail sales beat expectations in March, increasing 0.4% to $24.946 billion.
- It was the highest monthly total on record, and left the increase from a year earlier at 3.6%.
- Sales rose in food (0.6%), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.1%), other stores (0.4%) and household goods retailers (0.1%). That was offset by flat sales in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services and a 0.5% slump in department store sales.
- From a year earlier, sales of household goods rose by 5.8%, the fastest growth of any category. Food retailing — the largest component of sales by dollar spend — grew by 2.9%.
- By state and territory, Victoria and New South Wales — the most populous states in Australia — saw sales increase 0.5% and 0.4% respectively in March. Elsewhere sales rose in Western Australia (0.7%), Queensland (0.2%), South Australia (0.2%) and Tasmania (0.6%), but fell in the ACT (-0.6%) and the Northern Territory (-0.2%).
- Reflective of the divergent economic performance across the country, sales growth in non-mining regions continued to outperform those areas more aligned to the mining sector over the past year.
- Sales in New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT all grew by between 6.9% to 4.9%. At the other end of the spectrum, sales in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia rose by 0.9%, 1.1% and 1.2% respectively.
- Turning to today, economists expect sales growth to moderate fractionally in April, forecasting an increase of 0.3%. Forecasts range from an increase of 0.1% to 0.6% according to Bloomberg, indicating that there’s likely to be some volatility accompanying the release.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will release the report, alongside trade figures for April, at 11.30am AEST.
Business Insider will have full coverage as soon as the data drops.