The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released both the monthly and quarterly retails sales figures for March and they were both weaker than the market had forecast.
Coming in at just 0.1% month on month in seasonally adjusted terms sales in march undershot expectations of a 0.4% growth rate by a wide margin. this was offset a little by the upward revision to February’s data from 0.2% to 0.3% but the overall quarterly number only printed up 1.2% against expectations of a rise of 1.6%.
The Aussie dollar responded negatively at first falling back to 0.9330, but it seems that traders have since taken a look at the overall rate of growth of retail sales, which on a 12 month change basis is solid.
Indeed retail sales have now risen for 11 of the past 12 months with an average rate of change over the past 12 months for retail sales of 0.5%. Equally with food, household goods and cafes and restaurants all up strongly in March, this suggests Australian consumers have not gone back into their cave, that notwithstanding the recent pullback in sentiment.
So while the three-month rate of growth has certainly slowed from its recent four-year peak the overall picture over the medium term still looks positive for retail sales.
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